Thursday, 5 July 2012

When change causes problems

Organisations change for a number of reasons. They may be downsizing, merging or exploring new opportunities. The regulatory landscape may suddenly change. The whole company may restructure to align to new practices and processes.

Your data marts may be totally fit for purpose. But what if that fundamental purpose changes? 

Document your data - Build a complete metadata model. Keep it relevant by including any changes to your systems. Tell everyone about it. And when you think everyone knows about it, tell them again and again. A good metadata model is only valuable when everyone knows about it and uses it.

Govern your data - Have a team of people who can advise all change projects on how the data is to be governed. Good data governance people will make sure that data is valued as much as the infrastructure.

Profile your data - Keeping up-to-date profiles of your data can advise you of how any compatibility issues between the data on your legacy system and the target systems that it is to be migrated to.

Standardise your data quality - By this, I mean the tools that you are using. Bespoke reports on legacy systems have all kinds of business and technical assumptions built into them. If you change the use of the underlying data, these reports will be compromised. By utilising a central toolset, changes in quality requirements can be more easily managed.

This four-pronged attack will lay the bedrock for managing data through fundamental wholesale changes in regulations, roles, strategy and corporate direction.

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