Where is your data?

We are continually developing, planning, budgeting and reporting based on data provided within our organisations, but how much do we know about the data we are using?

Within any organisation we now produce and use large amounts of data:  Big data, Data Lakes, Open data, Shared Data. How do we know we are using the right data or the most up-to-date data? How do we know what new or more appropriate data is available? Can we tell what the quality of the data is before we use it?

Many organisations have an information strategy or policies and procedures around business data appropriate use. Some even provide a Data Governance Framework but very few have practical easy to use tools to discover what important data and information collections existing within the organization. And while it is great to know how to think about information it is far more practical to get to the actual list of what is available. This type of catalogue would be an invaluable asset to the development of analysis and better decision making within any organisation.

In order to get and share this view of what is important and of value, organisations are increasingly setting up their single source of truth on valued data within their company. Whether it is called an Information Asset Register (IAR), Data Catalogue (DC) or Data Inventory (DI), these centralised registers store a list of each company or departments valuable information. Not the actual source but a register of important information about the data. The more sophisticated the register the better the supporting information like who is the steward, how current the information is and indicators of the data quality.

Can you answer the following questions in relation to your companies data:

Is it the original source?
Who is the main contact for using the data?
What is the access level to the data?
Is it used as open data?
How often is the data updated?
Does the data have temporal or spatial qualities?
Is this exact data being created in multiple places in the organisation?

The Information Asset Register or Data Catalogue is then located in a central location, often via the intranet, where staff can see the types of data used by the company and potentially use this information to enhance or improve reporting or deliver new knowledge and insights.

The level of detail and the sophistication of the tools used to present the asset register often depend on the type of company you are in and where they are in the maturity of their information management and analytics journey. A culture moving increasingly to analytics and information assets as something to be recognised and managed are more likely to have registers designed to deliver direct productivity gains and customer value.
The way in which registers and catalogues are created can depend on the systems you us and can be as simple as a SharePoint list through to applications which automatically keep your Information Asset Register updated through integrations weith key systems (such as SAP).

No matter where you are in the analytics uplift and maturity journey, information asset registers are a fundamental key to bringing conscious attention to the importance and value of information in your organisation and are an easily achievable first step in delivering some value back to all knowledge workers. 

For more information on how to setup a data catalogue for your business, contact Business Aspect today.