Saturday, 2 August 2014

5 reasons why they won't let you have the data

The appropriate sharing of data and information is key to any organisation's success. One department may be collecting data that is useful to other parts of the business. 

When you ask for that vital data, many barriers can be placed in your way. One problem may be resolved, only to have others magically appear. (i.e. the firewall won't let the data through, its not their responsibility, hiding behind data protection and data governance, you haven't ticked the right boxes etc. etc.)

When more than one barrier appears, it's time to consider why this is happening, and it's not always pretty. The following are the top reasons I have experienced (in my previous roles) as to why your colleagues are putting you off access to their data.

1.  It's not all there
Yes, some departments stop collecting data and let the rest of the organisation think they are still collecting it. This can happen for many reasons. Perhaps the budget went on something else, or there were cost cutting exercises that affected third party contracts. Sometimes data is lost, due to errors, or key personnel leaving, along with the knowledge on where it is. It's important that you get to the bottom of this.

2.  The quality is poor or unknown
It's very hard for colleagues to admit that the enormous spend on capture has resulted in incomplete or inaccurate data. Sometimes, not knowing the quality can be more disruptive. Colleagues may choose to refuse you access, rather than letting you have the good quality data if it was known.

3.  They are unsure of the measures that use the data
This is by far the most common problem. They won't let you have access to the raw data, because they are concerned that you may find flaws in how their own measures work.

4.  They are protecting job security
Many departments will fear their jobs may be lost if they hand over the monitoring of data to another team. It is important to state the nature of your business, and define the limit of your scope to allay any concerns in this area.

5.  They are covering up catastrophic losses in the business
Never rule this one out. It happens more often than you think.

The function of a data governance department is not to act solely as a blocker. A fully mature data governance team should also be your advocates, cutting out red tape and enabling you to have the correct data to do your job. If you experience any of these problems, contact data governance. If you don't have a data governance team, isn't it about time you got one?