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De-cluttering, de-stressing, and de-bugging the data call process

One of the things that gets undercounted in most organizations is the time and effort spent responding to data calls. I think there’s probably a great piece research work that could be done just in looking at data calls that fall outside of normal business process flows within large organizations whether they are public sector or private sector. In my experience this is something that consumes an inordinate amount of time in many organizations. That’s not to say that data calls are necessarily a bad thing. Oftentimes the reason that this special information is being requested to support a change initiative that’s going to have a positive impact on the organization or to supplement the informational gathering apparatus that is already in place.

Since this additional information is required for decision making, there are a lot of legitimate reasons these data calls are so prevalent but the part that strikes me is that there’s no significant infrastructure dedicated in most cases to managing these data calls systematically. There’s no recognition of that fact that enough time is being spent on these data calls to do something about managing them for the benefit of the enterprise as a whole. I think that is short sighted on the part of these organizations.

Take the public sector for example. If you look at the things that have come out for organizations to respond to in the last few years, whether it be Portfoliostat, Techstat, 21st Century Digital Strategy, Cloudfirst, or Shared-first, all these different directives to these organizations include heavy data collection components but if you look across them, there are a lot of commonalities. A really good understanding of the application portfolio is prevalent in quite a few of the ones that have gone out for IT organizations. So not only could a systematic approach to managing those data calls have served to lower the cost to complete each one, raise the quality, and deliver more enterprise value but beyond that; the collection of those informational resources all together could give you extraordinary decision making abilities.

I think some of the things organizations should be looking to do is formalize the processes around:

  • how they support resourcing and tasking around data calls
  • how they look at solutions that will help them technically manage that information for the organization as a whole
  • how will they support that value chain that takes you from this is the data I want to collect, this is how I’m going to collect it, all the way through to the analysis and reporting that I need to do

That is the value chain that we’ve attempted to build out and support for education, public sector, and business with Exam4schools, Exam4government, and Exam4business. I’m curious what people are using right now. I’m sure there are organizations that are looking at these data calls from a systemic standpoint and I’d love to hear what tools and processes you are using to support these efforts.

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