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Jill Dyché

There you are! What took you so long? This is my blog and it's about YOU.

Yes, you. Or at least it's about your company. Or people you work with in your company. Or people at other companies that are a lot like you. Or people at other companies that you'd rather not resemble at all. Or it's about your competitors and what they're doing, and whether you're doing it better. You get the idea. There's a swarm of swamis, shrinks, and gurus out there already, but I'm just a consultant who works with lots of clients, and the dirty little secret - shhh! - is my clients share a lot of the same challenges around data management, data governance, and data integration. Many of their stories are universal, and that's where you come in.

I'm hoping you'll pour a cup of tea (if this were another Web site, it would be a tumbler of single-malt, but never mind), open the blog, read a little bit and go, "Jeez, that sounds just like me." Or not. Either way, welcome on in. It really is all about you.

About the author >

Jill is a partner co-founder of Baseline Consulting, a technology and management consulting firm specializing in data integration and business analytics. Jill is the author of three acclaimed business books, the latest of which is Customer Data Integration: Reaching a Single Version of the Truth, co-authored with Evan Levy. Her blog, Inside the Biz, focuses on the business value of IT.

Editor's Note: More articles and resources are available in Jill's BeyeNETWORK Expert Channel. Be sure to visit today!

September 2010 Archives

By Carol Newcomb, Senior Consultant

What does ”change management” mean to you?   Is it the same thing that other people think of?   Do you even know?   Do you have a definition?   I’ll bet you have more than one!

Some things I’ve heard in my recent travels include:  

  • Project plan for implementing changes to data management processes
  • Communications plan for alterations in the SDLC
  • Cultural change required to digest or accept more formalized processes and standards
  • High-level leadership directives enticing more cooperation among the ranks

If you get the feeling that ”change management” is a mirage, one of those windmills in the distance that keeps fading in and out of focus, maybe you’d better get off that donkey and start asking some questions.   Like ”where did this idea come from” and ”whose idea is it?”   Let’s set some ground rules for change management.

I.   What’s the end goal?  

This is the vision, the purpose.   Is it enlightenment, or something more tangible, like faster time to delivery, more efficient team coordination, or a call for cultural change?   Change management needs a name and a specific goal.   Otherwise, my windmill looks different than your windmill.

II.   How will you measure it?

If you can’t measure it, it doesn’t exist.   Think about it—anything tangible has a weight, a height, a mass, or a velocity per unit.   Even black holes can be measured.   Change is a progression from one state to another, and not to put too tight a noose around it, but if you don’t know where you started, you’ll never know where you are in your journey.

III.   How will you know when you have achieved it?

Back to the vision-- or the goal.   Is there an objective to your journey, or are you just wandering and taking it all in?   How far away are you from reaching your destination?   Do you have a sense of how many more resources you need; what kind of resources, what roadmap will guide them to the destination?   When can you say to the team, ”Enough already”!

IV.   How will you share it or communicate it?

Can other people learn from your experience in your journey, or will it seem like another distant mirage to them as they embark on their own travels?   What kind of institutional learning can you build to help other areas or individuals achieve similar goals?   What kinds of differences are relevant and notable?

Change management will be a guide and a journal for others in the future.   Don Quixote never found his windmills, but NASA put a man on the moon.   So, take a practical approach.   After all, once you’ve seen all those windmills, and you never reach them, how much more time and effort are you going to expend before ditching the whole journey?

photo by spotter_nl via Flickr (Creative Commons License)

CarolNewcomb_thumb Carol Newcomb is a Senior Consultant with Baseline Consulting. She specializes in developing BI and data governance programs to drive competitive advantage and fact-based decision making. Carol has consulted for a variety of health care organizations, including Rush Health Associates, Kaiser Permanente, OSF Healthcare, the Blue Cross Blue Shield Association and more. While working at the Joint Commission and Northwestern Memorial Hospital, she designed and conducted scientific research projects and contributed to statistical analyses.

Posted September 30, 2010 6:00 AM
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Recently, we launched our newest e-book, The Data Quality eBook. We ran an excerpt from that book last week. But did you know we have another e-book out there? Earlier this year, we published The Data Governance eBook to rousing success. If you haven't had a chance to download and read this book by Kimberly Nevala and Stephen Putman, don't worry—it's still available online.

Here's a description:

When the fictitious business team at the SpectraDynamo corporation launches a new data governance initiative, the trials and tribulations begin. The Data Governance eBook, authored by the experts at Baseline Consulting, is an entertaining business parable with a message aimed at helping you launch data governance the right way. This bold new look at data governance is more than just a cautionary tale. It's what Baseline partner Jill Dyché calls "a prescription for getting it right." The Data Governance eBook includes all the nuts and bolts necessary to transcend the requisite decision-by-committee and role confusion so endemic to companies’ information management efforts.

Here's a brief excerpt that showcases what you'll find in our first e-book:

The moral of the story: data governance can be tough. By definition, innovation is disruptive and antithetical to established paradigms. Applying rigor in the form of governance and oversight to information is no exception to this rule. Mix the laundry list of competing information needs and issues in the average enterprise with the inevitable confusion regarding ‘what does it mean’ and the data governance proposition quickly becomes overwhelming. The multitude of data governance definitions and methodologies parlayed by both industry analysts and vendors—is it: data quality? information policy? a dashboard? a council?—certainly doesn’t help.

The fact is: there is no standard playbook for data governance. The structure of your program is dependent on the specific problems governance needs to address and the organization’s incumbent organization and culture.   Some companies—like SpectroDynamo—find a bottom-up approach centered around core data management functions provides the greatest initial leverage. Organizations that are more hierarchical or consensus driven in nature may require formal enlistment of executive sponsorship and deliberate assignment of decision rights for governance to take root. And yes, you may start somewhere in the middle...

What is consistent? The fundamental roles and responsibilities found in functioning data governance programs. In this section, we define those core functions: executive sponsorship, data governance (policy making and decision rights), data management and data stewardship. These functions align with and support everything from strategy alignment and organizational buy-in to tactical enablement and operations.

When evaluating these capabilities, remember the single most important success factor for entrenching data governance as a core operating principle: continuous improvement. Rather than boiling the ocean, identify key business pain points and the core capabilities required to address them. Prioritize and pick a pilot project. Finally, prototype data governance-related processes and don’t be afraid to refine them as your capabilities and reach grow.


Interested in knowing more? Download The Data Governance eBook today!

Posted September 9, 2010 8:00 AM
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