Data

DATA GOVERNANCE

As with other components of a data strategy, most data governance initiatives start by addressing specific tactical issues such as data accuracy, business rule definition, or KPI definition.  However, as data becomes fundamental to an organisation's operations, the methods and processes needed to manage data outside the context of an application and across the enterprise become critical.  This is as true for operational data as it is for analytics and marketing data.

An effective data governance framework establishes, manages and communicates information policies and mechanisms for effective data usage across all applications, systems and business units.   This ensures that once data is decoupled from the application that created it, the rules and details of the data are known and respected by all other data constituents.  Decisions about how data is processed, manipulated or shared aren’t made by an individual developer but are established by the rules and polices of data governance.

The Data Works understands that the purpose of data governance isn’t to limit data access or insert a harsh, unusable level of rigour, but simply to ensure that data becomes easier to consistently access, use and share.

DATA STRATEGY DEVELOPMENT

Most companies have multiple data management initiatives underway: metadata classification; master data management; data governance; data migration; data integration; data quality.  However, efforts are often focused on point solutions that address specific project or tactical needs.  As most business applications and processes are referencing other common data-sets, this fragmentation of data management initiatives leads to a duplication of effort and inconsistent approaches, as solutions to the data challenges are designed afresh and in isolation each time.

A data strategy provides a roadmap to align activities across each data management discipline in such a way that they complement and build on one another to deliver greater benefits.  A strong data strategy also allows for unification of Business and IT expectations for all enterprise data-related capabilities.  

The Data Works can work with you to define your data strategy to plan how to improve all of the ways you acquire, store, manage, share and use data so that it can support today’s multitude of processing and decision-making activities.


Successful delivery of technology projects is rarely about the delivery of the technology

DATA TECHNOLOGY

Most organisastions have a desire to become data-driven and insight-led, often with a corresponding intention to put the customer at the heart of their operations.  However, translating that business intention into a technical reality is not without its challenges. 

Marketing departments demanding the capability to deliver a real-time hyper-personalised customer experience; exacting consumers with high expectations; a C-suite that's hungry for accurate metrics and insights at their fingertips: all this requires an architectural data landscape that is fit for purpose, performant and scalable.  Data must be ingested, parsed, processed, aggregated, decisioned and actioned almost constantly.  All without losing its integrity or accuracy, and whilst adhering to enterprise wide data governance principles, security standards and the relevant legislation and regulatory standards.

As ever, these demands are often being made against a backdrop of being asked to do more with less.  The Data Works has experience of designing and delivering technology transformation roadmaps, typically breaking down into the areas below.  These engagements generally take place within the context of an already defined technology strategy.

Capability Assessment

In a bid to address a particular challenge, companies often confuse action with progress and jump straight into buying a piece of software.  Where this is done without understanding the genuine capability of the software, or whether that capability is already present within an existing tool within the business, this often translates into wasted spend. 

Similarly, without a grasp of the skills required to utilise the functionality, and an honest assessment of whether those skills exist in-house, the chosen technology is unlikely to realise any benefits.

The Data Works can run Discovery sessions across any area of an organisation to assess the capability of both the existing technology and the users against the requirements of the business.  In addition, using the same framework, The Data Works can assess any potential technologies being considered, against the requirements captured.

Business Requirements Gathering

Successful delivery of technology projects is rarely about the delivery of the technology.  The perception of the success or failure of a technology project is dependent on, and measured by, the delivery of the business' requirements, and adoption by the business. 

An often over-looked step is the thorough elicitation and validation of the requirements of all of the relevant business stakeholders.  In addition the appropriate success criteria for delivery of each requirement must be defined.

The Data Works can facilitate requirement gathering workshops, using a variety of requirement elicitation techniques across all areas of the business, to ensure that the needs of the business are fully understood and interrogated.  The resulting documentation of a Business Requirement Documents and user stories can then be used to form the basis of an ITT/RFP process, and can also be summarised in an appropriate level of detail for board level sponsors.

Solution Implementation Support

With resources often in short-supply, documentation and project governance is often the first thing to fall by the wayside.  Whether that's documentation of the solution specification, the test criteria, the artefacts required for programme governance or anything else.  In the rush to deliver, best practice gets left behind which always compromises delivery, creates single points of knowledge failure, and makes post go-live technical support that much harder.

The Data Works can provide the skills to bolster in-house resources either by performing a project management function, or by working with the development teams to produce the technical documentation.  In addition, resource can be provided to act as an interface between the Solution team and other interested stakeholders.

Solution Design and Roadmap Definition

Once the requirements have been gathered and the capabilities understood, a solution can be designed with reference to the overall technology strategy.  This will identify the components required within the solution and how they will integrate into the existing landscape to produce a conceptual architecture design. 

Where the complexity of the solution requires phased delivery, The Data Works can also define the roadmap, identifying how delivery of the solution will break down into smaller projects.  The roadmap will identify the critical path and inter-dependencies between the projects, any broader enterprise architecture inter-dependencies, as well as articulating the business capability delivered at each milestone.