High quality, comprehensible and consistent information to help drive business growth.
Have you ever attended meetings where multiple people purport to report on the same key business indicators that don’t match, with the rest of the meeting taken up with arguing over the source of the data and calculations, rather than analysing and more importantly, making business decisions based on the correct data.
More and more organisations are understanding the value and power of information (structured and unstructured) for critical business decision making including insight and related commercial offerings with the advent of Big Data, Predictive Analytics and Machine Learning. Information Management is aligned to strategic business objectives with data management providing the rigour for delivery of the output throughout the organisation.
In fact, some organisations are placing so much weight on quality information, that they are reporting the value on their balance sheet!
So how can you take advantage of the data your organisation is collecting, and more importantly, where do you start?
Let’s start by looking at the Information Management Framework and some of the key components that cover people/organisation, technology and process to ensure an aligned solution:
Information Management Organisation
Technical architecture alone can not provide an optimised IM solution and there is always a high level of reliance on the organisation to both control and ensure the information management needs of the business are aligned and maintained. This requires a Data Governance framework and organisational operating model that is aligned to your business needs and defines accountabilities for differing users (IT, Business Users etc) within the organisation including standards and compliance monitoring.
Master Data is common data about customers, products, suppliers, materials, accounts etc, that is stored and replicated across IT systems and meta data is the data about the data e.g. field length for product etc.
There is commonly a need to decide on how master data will be controlled within the organisation in the context of both the technical solution as well as the organisational model e.g. centrally updated in all source systems versus consolidated and reported for updates in source systems.
Integration Management deals with the complexities of integration of data/content from source applications and between Information Storage solutions with varying scenario’s for real time data and application integration.
This can range from a Data Lake (often Hadoop based Big Data solutions) where you can store all your structured and unstructured data in the original natural state as well as a standardised format layer and an application layer where business logic is applied to provide application level data ready to be consumed e.g. Data Warehouse.
Traditionally, a Data Warehouse sources data from multiple source/transactional systems which can also include the Data Lake as above where the Information is then tied together across common dimensions (customer, chart of accounts etc) and then modelled to various business functions across the business as data marts.
These models (or data marts) such as Sales, Finance, HR, Product etc are structured for business context, speed of query and use centrally controlled business definitions to ensure consistency is maintained.
The best storage solution is dependent on the usage requirements with Data Lakes and Data Warehouses often working together in harmony in modern day architectures.
Starting on your Information Management Journey
This can often seem challenging for organisations due to the varying nature of user requirements as well as complexity of existing solution architectures that have been built over time, so much so, it can lead to inertia. It is critical that you begin the journey by understanding where you want to end. Only by truly engaging with key stakeholders in your organisation, to understand their information needs, can you then start to draw up the roadmap of how you are going to get there.
This roadmap becomes a critical “living” part of that journey, constantly prioritising business needs and delivering against them.
Contact Hamish Dwight today to discuss getting started on your roadmap.