Parenting Your Data

I am pleased to welcome Guy Harvey as a guest blogger to my site this week.  Guy is an independent consultant with over 18 years of Information Management and Data Warehousing experience under his belt. Having worked with some of the UK largest companies, he has had the opportunity to view data management from many angles and experienced both success and failure along the way. Guy firmly believes data management starts, and remains as the responsibility of those who are involved with its creation and IT as an integral partner to deliver a quality service. Following this approach has delivered the successes but fully understands that each company brings challenges rarely seen anywhere else.

Sat contemplating life like I normally do, I wondered how to portray the management of data to the unwashed and uninitiated and as I did, I realised that there were close synergies between data and children. I comically started comparing the lifecycle of data with that of a child and how all data wants to grow up to be information. But as I explored the idea further the whole analogy started to crystallise and it really did start to make sense, well it did to me anyway. So it goes like this.

What is data Management?

Most parents dream of having healthy and happy children, they want they children to be given the best start in life, to be educated and independent, they want them to have opportunities to grow and integrate into society and be valued for who they are. They also want them to have friends, be kept safe throughout their lives, settle down and have a defined purpose. Finding a lifestyle that meets their primary needs as a human being is also someone revered. But to get children to this position takes time effort and mentoring, you have to invest time effort and energy to help them grow and learn. You need the help, advice and support from of lots of other people like doctors, teachers, grandparents, friends, neighbours as you cant do it on your own. You need organisations like hospitals schools, banks and shops. You have to use tools like, toys, books, transport etc.

So if we now draw a comparison between responsible parenting and managing data there are surprising similarities.

Most companies want quality and trusted data, they want their data to be correct at point of capture, to be managed, monitored and secure, they want data to be able to be integrated with other data easily and without massive effort and to be of valued to the organisation. They also want it to be available for reporting and management information and eventually become part of a data warehouse where it can be used to drive profitability and reduce costs. Ultimately, companies want to use their data so it becomes a fully-fledged statistic. Finding a cost effective and efficient and archiving solution that meets the legislative and compliance at meets is a primary concern for all data management professionals. But to get data to this position takes time effort and mentoring, you have to invest time effort and energy to help it along it journey. You need the help, advice and support from of lots of other people like stewards, owners, sponsors, consultants, subject matter experts, process analysts, technical analysts as you cant do it on your own. You need departments like Finance, HR, Marketing, Sales, Procurement, IT, operations and you have to use tools like policies, strategies, roadmaps, spreadsheets, profiling tools, monitoring tools, reporting tools, databases etc.

This maybe a longwinded way of explaining my point, but I'm happy I can explain my thoughts and hopefully you will see the similarities as well.

 

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