QA Group is working in close partnership with Carruthers and Jackson to deliver consultancy and learning interventions to help executives, senior stakeholders and the wider organisation understand how to deliver transformational value from data. The following is part of a series of ten blogs by Caroline Carruthers, re-published with permission especially for QA's customers and for any other organisation seeking revolutionary opportunities from the best use of data.
So what are your 'information basics'?
In the previous article, we talked about the idea of getting your basics right, but left you on a bit of a cliff-hanger, so thought we could revisit the basics and give you a little more detail.
To keep it simple we've broken these down into three main areas:
Let's face it, you will be making changes to the organisation and you might not always get it right first time – remember the old saying, "If you never make a mistake you aren't trying hard enough!" so what must be in place is a way of letting people know what is expected of them, what are they really accountable for; be that policies, standards, procedures, or whatever your company uses to help everyone understand their responsibilities, as well as a control mechanism for managing those policies. How do you make decisions on how the organisation needs to treat its data and information? Who is involved in this process? If you are smart, you get people involved who cover large parts of your company – the plot for 'buy in' starts here.
2. Information Architecture
Next let's look at your information architecture, not the vast swathes of detail that sit in your data dictionary, (at least not at this point), but the big headings. What are the top five to ten-ish headings that describe all the information in your company and (most importantly) who is the one person who could make a decision on each one. This is not about playing the blame game; that just makes individuals hide from any kind of accountability and leads to a kind of companywide whack-a-mole game. Remember, the quote from above "if you aren't making mistakes…" Your Information domain owners are accountable experts in their fields who understand specific areas of information within your business and can give firm direction and decisions in their area. Once you have the highest conceptual level agreed, then it's time to move onto the next level, adding richer detail as you go.
Lastly and definitely not least, how are you going to engage with the company? Where is your network of evangelists coming from who will sell your message? It's great that you know who can make decisions about the information and that you have clear instructions on how people should treat your company's data but it really is pointless unless you tell them. Naturally, we are talking about mass companywide emails that of course, everyone reads every detail of, inwardly digests and miraculously and immediately changes their behaviour…in our dreams! This is 'hearts and minds' time here. What is your compelling argument to change, how are you making their life better and what is in it for them that makes it worth changing their behaviour? At the very least, tell them what you expect from them.
Get all that right - and at least you know you have covered off your basics while you start your journey.
About QA Group
QA helps individuals and organisations achieve their potential through world-class Learning Strategy and Solutions. This includes: training and certification, innovative Talent Solutions that solve both business critical skills and capability gaps, Business Transformation solutions, enabling change and transformation through engagement and education of workforces, and Managed Learning Services. In addition, QA provides consultancy, apprenticeships and post graduate degrees on a range of technical, business and leadership subjects. With over 22 UK training centres – including Apprenticeships, Consulting and Cyber Academies – and a range of online learning options, QA offers an unparalleled set of learning solutions to both private and public sector organisations.
About Carruthers and Jackson
In the world we live in, data is recognised as an asset but organisations are still struggling with how to drive the true value from it. We look to all the exciting advances being made around innovations like Machine Learning and Artificial Intelligence (augmented intelligence), but if organisations don't get their data right first, they are just building houses of cards. Carruthers and Jackson was set up to make sure this doesn't happen to you.
For more information on the products and services Carruthers and Jackson offer, please visit www.carruthersandjackson.com
Caroline Carruthers was the first Group Director for Data Management for the Lowell Group and was the first Chief Data Officer for Network Rail. She has been a data cheerleader for more years than she can remember, and is a strong advocate of getting the basics right, and as such she adheres to the KISS principle (Keep it Simple, Stupid) in her approach to even the most complex issues. She is passionate about technology, and as a trustee for CILIP (Chartered Institute of Library and Information Professionals), she champions a growing professionalism of data and information-related disciplines so we can achieve 'data nirvana' a bit quicker.
More articles by Caroline
The secret ingredients of the successful Chief Data Officer
Why does an organisation need a Chief Data Officer?
Chief Data Officer - The first 100 days (pt1)
Avoiding the Hype Cycle
Delivering a data strategy in the cauldron of BAU
First Generation v Second Generation CDO
The Second Generation CDO
The Third Generation CDO
Data Driven or Data Enabled?