Six of your data colleagues set out to resolve a puzzle. Why do companies say they are interested in data and do so little about it? Why proclaim “data are assets,” then not manage them as such?

To solve this puzzle we narrowed our focus to the “manage data assets” question, pooled and re-examined our own successes and failures, studied models of innovation, diffusion, and disruption, conducted an extensive root cause analysis, compared interim explanations with progress in other fields, and were brutally honest in testing these explanations among ourselves.

The answer was not what we expected and the result has been the creation of The Leader’s Data Manifesto.

Data-Manifesto-Image-for-Web

The Leader’s Data Manifesto is being launched today at Enterprise Data World 2017, Atlanta Georgia. The aim is to push for change and empower everyone who uses data to do their job to become a data provocateur. Without enterprise wide acceptance of data as an asset of value, that must be managed as such, business will continue to miss the mark and fail to realize the full potential of the data assets they own.

 

 

9 Comments

  1. I think that a necessary additional component of the current situation is a lack of education in data; its value, its management, its governance, etc… across the spectrum. We in the profession have to do a better job of campaigning for improved education at all levels (undergraduate, graduate, certificate, etc..) for data management education.

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    1. The CIO of a $4 billion, 20 country logistics company had just completed his MBA and he was delighted. We asked him, “What did you learn?” He replied, “Everything! I learnt about governance, strategy, risk, compliance, finance, HR, marketing, IT, everything.” “And what did you learn about data and information management?” He laughed and said, “Not a word.” So you’re right, we do need to improve education at all levels. But in addition to operations and management we also have to educate Boards and investors; after all they are the people who are individually and severally liable and whose money is at stake.

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      1. I find it strange that for CIO positions it’s often required to have an MBA, which is a pure business degree, or a computer science degree, which is pure technology.

        I have a master’s degree in library and information studies with focus on data and information management plus strategy and leadership. I know people with the same the background as me would like to be recognized as potential CIOs and not just the “records manager” or “corporate librarian” in the corner. Library and information science degrees are widely underestimated – I think people are confused by the “library” term.

        I just hope to see library and information science degrees as part of the educational requirements for CIOs in the near future, and not just MBAs and technology degrees.

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      2. Anne,
        Librarians and Records Managers know a lot about managing an organisation’s information assets – much more than they are given credit for. They understand how information assets are tied to and contribute to the business; they understand what comprises the organisation’s inventory of information assets; they understand the relative and contextual value of those information assets; they understand the importance of language. And that’s just the start. However, they are like the rest of us in that we need to change (or augment) our audience (to the most senior executives), we need to change our message from one of risk and compliance to one of tangible business benefit and we need to change our language – after all which executives understand what a business classification scheme, a thesaurus or a metadata model are? In comparison to the slick vendor messages that advocate that if you buy this silver bullet then all your problems will go away, the long and tedious message of managing information as a business asset is a difficult sell. And we have to address that.

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  2. Great discussion and an initiative that is much needed. I believe there are three things that are important for us to highlight, to get the attention of senior leaders:

    1. Leadership 2.0 (Data-driven Leadership) – Leaders have to pivot on data not technology to succeed. People, process, and technology is no longer applicable. The new leadership model is all about – People, process, technology and data (I call this the Golden Square). More at https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/corporate-leadership-20-golden-triangle-transforms-square-jay-zaidi?trk=mp-author-card

    2. Data practitioners must focus on what information management does, not what it is – This aligns with Anne-Marie’s point above. More at https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/real-world-solutions-5-greatest-challenges-management-jay-zaidi?trk=hp-feed-article-title-publish

    3. Managing data is hard, but its the best investment CXOs can make – Data management is hard stuff, but its no longer optional must mandatory, if companies wish to not die a painful death. More at https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/managing-data-hard-its-best-strategic-investment-can-make-jay-zaidi?published=t

    4. Tangible business value can be derived by maturing data management and analytics – More at https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/data-value-pyramid-framework-investing-generate-tangible-jay-zaidi?published=t

    Thanks.

    Jay

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  3. Jay,
    Great to hear from you.
    With regard to your excellent comments:
    1. Have a look at the article in the Links section entitled, “Why it is important to manage information as a business asset.” Here we take an economist’s rather than an accountant’s view and identify the assets / resources available to organisations that allow them to conduct their business activities. You’ll notice that we then do a couple of things a bit differently. Firstly we differentiate between the activities and processes of the business, i.e. what gets done, from the resources deployed, i.e. what enables it to get done. We then have a few firm words to say about the role of management. And secondly, we put technology squarely in the physical assets category along with property and other infrastructure. We do that deliberately to draw a harsh distinction between managing the content (information management) which adds business value, and managing the delivery mechanism (information technology) which is an enabler. In other words, you made decisions based on what information, not what router, you have.
    2. Could not agree more. As Tom Redman says, “Not all data and information is an asset” and “Big Garbage in: Big Garbage out.” Without understanding precisely what the organisation does, it is impossible to determine which data and information is valuable to the business and the examples of failure in this regard are multitudinous.
    3. The problem we face is that there is rarely a catalyst or a burning platform. Have a look at the academic paper, “Barriers to the effective deployment of information assets.” It’s easy for executives to say, “We are doing alright” and “It’s not a priority.” But that is only because they don’t know the cost of managing their information assets, the value of their information assets, or the benefit to their organisations from managing their information assets effectively. The Managing Partner of a national law firm said, “My firm is only 90% as effective as it was a decade ago. We have lost 1% in productivity each and every year for the last ten years.” And nothing has been done to address that situation. That is a disgrace but is understandable because poor information management creates a death by thousand cuts rather than a catastrophic event. But you are right, the attitude is inexcusable because poor information management represents an existential threat in the end.
    4. Tangible business value can be driven by many different information management approaches, some as simple as implementing email guidelines, naming conventions and what goes where tools. the key is measurement and articulation. And the numbers are big. Anecdotal evidence suggests $20,000 per person per year. Martin Spratt is doing great work on data damage and Doug Laney is a global authority on Infonomics. I would encourage you to have a look at their work.

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  4. You’re talking our language. At LINQ [www.linq.it] we believe that understanding how your data flows through your business – an Information Supply Chain – gives you huge insight into the way you meet your business outcomes; how you manufacture the knowledge you need to operate. This approach allows you to fully appreciate your data and information assets but also provides the opportunity to identify wastage in that flow which if mitigated increases the efficiency and effectiveness of your entire business.

    This data and information perspective enables the approach you talk about in your post.

    We believe that there is a real opportunity to make a difference to businesses by helping them understand the opportunity that exists once they understand the value of their information asset in a quantifiable way.

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