The sports that most captured the zeitgeist of the American 20th century, in my opinion, are baseball for the first half and American style football for the latter half. As we enter into the 21st century, a case can be made that the “sport” of the future is video games. Of those played competitively around the world, one of the most popular is StarCraft 2, a real-time strategy game in which each player takes control of an army and is responsible for gathering resources, assigning those resources to perform certain tasks (in this case, build virtual troops and weapons), and use the army to capture the bases of other players. You can think about these types of games as hyper project management engulfed in rapid mouse movement and sci-fi tropes. There are established ways of winning and often the victorious player is the one who chooses the proper strategy first and rides it to victory. The win or loss is all dependent on the planning prior to the match.
Similarly, with the initiation of any information governance initiative, the planning is often where the initiative is set on the path to success or failure. Much like in the nuanced world of video games, there are unique aspects to the planning of an information governance initiative that require a unique business process to capture the proper inputs and guide an organization through the planning decisions.
The Assessment of Data Quality
The first and often most important aspect of the business process of planning around information governance lies is in the assessment of the current state of your data. This assessment, often likened to an audit of the current state of the data, is more than just a data profiling exercise but rather a business process that involves key users and stakeholders from all areas of an organization. It is not that a field in a particular table is at a 36.2346% NULL percentage that matters, rather it is that a field being empty on a table can cause a disruption in stock replenishment due to reorder points not being able to calculate correctly. While technical profiling is a critical part of any assessment, it is the business analytics based on data that drive the proper planning. These analytics need involvement via the flow of work, often starting with the technical resources before quickly moving into business experts who understand the business and the systems involved in making the business run.
Starting with the assessment, the planning can then move into tying the findings to the strategic initiatives and KPIs by which the business is measured, in order to drive investment properly into information governance initiatives. The outcome of the business process of planning should be a plan for information governance that improves the data quality and stewardship of data to accomplish a tangible business goal. Good data is a worthwhile goal academically but must be tied to business value in order to be effective. A proper information governance planning business process will ensure that the business value is at the heart of all decisions and information governance initiatives will have a measurable impact throughout your organization.
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