Saturday, 2 January 2016

4 New Years Resolutions For Your Data

It is traditional - at this time of year - for everyone to think about what they have been doing wrong in the previous year and come up with some resolutions as to how we can make our New Year better. 

For some, this might be a new fitness regime, a change of job, more time with the family. For others, it could be as mundane as a new hair style. For me, I think I need to look at my diet.

So how can you make it a good year for your data? Here are my top tips to make 2016 a happier year for you and your data:

1.  Make data your priority:
For many businesses, the direction has been about platforms, systems and sales. Data has been collected and moved from one system to another - each time believing that the new system will magically fix the data that it carries. Make 2016 the year when data is valued as a strategic corporate asset, and more importantly, the reason for why the system is there. Make 2016 the year where the data is fixed and optimised. Make an effort to fill the missing data left by inefficient system migrations. Route out default and wild-card entries and engage everyone to get those gaps filled.

2. Re-negotiate with your suppliers
How about raking over all of the 3rd party data suppliers' contracts? Speak to the consumers of the data and find out if there are any common problems. Make a schedule for when the contracts need to be renewed, and see if you can set some data quality standards into the new contracts.

3. Make 2016 a year of documentation
You have your procedures, you may even have some entity diagrams knocking around. But do you know your data lineage? Are your data domains known and controlled? Are your colleagues aware of their responsibilities and accountabilities? Make 2016 the year when the documentation becomes as important as the systems. It always makes me laugh when new architects join a company and immediately start asking everyone about the systems. That tells me that the documentation is not up to scratch.

4. Stop trying to sneak data governance into unrelated projects
Make 2016 the year when good data governance becomes business as usual, rather than trying to shoehorn short-term change on the back of a large-scale programme that has better things to do with their time. Lets campaign for more investment in permanent jobs in this sector, and give our colleagues the world-class support that they deserve.

I hope you find these suggestions interesting. Let me know if you have any more.

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