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Assessing your business’s information management quality

ESTIMATED READING TIME: 3 MINUTES

Assessing your business’s information management quality

Your reporting numbers are the tip of an iceberg – your information management iceberg. Most business leaders who rely on those reporting numbers have no idea what lies beneath them... In this blog we assess your business’s information management quality with a short and effective quiz.

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What’s going on under your reporting?

ESTIMATED READING TIME: 2 MINUTES

What’s going on under your reporting?

Do you really understand what has gone on to get that report onto your desk? And if something is inconsistent with previous reports, inexplicable changes, conflicting numbers, then what do you do? Even worse, when the figures don’t seem right, and a resolution is required, you may come to see just how little anyone understands the full picture of what’s going on. And that’s dangerous for business assurance.

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IT are NOT Business Information Managers - so stop expecting
them to be

ESTIMATED READING TIME: 2 MINUTES

IT are NOT Business Information Managers - so stop expecting them to be

Information management is often left to IT. But Information is used, generated, owned and required by business staff. In this blog we discuss why it’s logical and efficient that business staff should be in charge of managing information.

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Glossaries don’t communicate, people do

ESTIMATED READING TIME: 2 MINUTES

Glossaries don’t communicate, people do

If you think the fact that you have a business glossary means your people are communicating clearly and effectively across your business functional areas, think again.
That kind of great communication doesn’t happen because someone put a term with a definition into a glossary...

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Improving poor information foundations – The CFO’s Software Purchase Checklist Part 2

ESTIMATED READING TIME: 7 MINUTES

Improving poor information foundations – The CFO’s Software Purchase Checklist Part 2

In our previous blog, we offered CFO's a checklist to determine whether a new software purchase/build is the right choice to make, right now, to solve the problems a business is having in generating the reporting figures they need. If you've gone through that checklist and realised you need to shore up your information foundations before approving a new software project, you're going to want to know how.
In this blog, we outline the five pillars that form business information foundations.

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Knowing When To Approve A Software Purchase – The CFO’s Checklist

ESTIMATED READING TIME: 6 MINUTES

Knowing When To Approve A Software Purchase – The CFO’s Checklist

If you’re a CFO and you’re being asked to approve yet another “this will solve everything” software tool purchase, you’re right to question it. In fact, it’s your job to question it. But as a finance person, not an IT person, you’re often on the back foot when it comes to understanding whether the software purchase is really the right answer to the problems your business is experiencing...

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The Beginners Guide to Planning IT Projects that Fail

ESTIMATED READING TIME: 6 MINUTES

The Beginners Guide to Planning IT Projects that Fail

Is it just us, or have you noticed this too… IT projects have a tendency to fail? Whether the project has a huge scope and significant budget, or it’s small and concise, there just seems to be an unwritten law in the universe that says things won’t go to plan, budget or schedule.
But why? Projects can have the most experienced BAs and project managers, yet we still see these types of project failures.

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The Top 7 Mistakes Execs Make in Information Management

ESTIMATED READING TIME: 10 MINUTES

The Top 7 Mistakes Execs Make in Information Management

In our many years of working with complex business environments, facing information management (IM) issues, we have continually seen senior Executives who have misconceptions about how information should be managed.
Over time, we’ve realised these misconceptions – or wrong thinking – along with the resulting behaviour – wrong doing – can be boiled down to 7 key mistakes which will almost always lead to wrong numbers in reporting activities.

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See a problem, pick it up, all the day you’ll have good quality business information

ESTIMATED READING TIME: 7 MINUTES

The Business Case for a Business-wide Glossary

I recently heard an interview that got me thinking about how all businesses create and promote a certain culture among their staff. Too many companies in which we’ve worked, mostly inadvertently, promote a fear-based culture that encourages the covering up of issues from managers and executive teams. This is a recipe for bad business assurance.

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The Business Case for a Business-wide Glossary

ESTIMATED READING TIME: 7 MINUTES

The Business Case for a Business-wide Glossary

When looking at the cost of a glossary specific software platform, the obvious elephant in the room is whether the cost is really justified. And the answer is, of course, no it isn’t… if you’re only using it for a single project.
In this blog, we’re discussing why it should be a BAs goal to establish an organisation-wide business term glossary, which can be used for each and every project, as well as many other purposes throughout the organisation.

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Beyond Language Workshops – Specialist Glossary Requirements

ESTIMATED READING TIME: 6 MINUTES

Beyond Language Workshops – Specialist Glossary Requirements

Most BAs know that term definition activity at the start of the project is necessary for IT scoping staff to do an accurate job of costing the project.
In this blog we discover how that glossaries are not just useful for accurate scoping. Glossaries carry the success of the whole project, and can mean the difference between a solution being successful at delivering what the business requested or that solution failing significantly and being unfixable.
We’ve seen this first hand…

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Workshops Versus 1:1 Interviews – which is best for a BA’s scoping activities?

ESTIMATED READING TIME: 8 MINUTES

Workshops Versus 1:1 Interviews – which is best for a BA’s scoping activities?

Recently, we’ve been having some conversations with business analysts about whether they find workshops or 1:1 interviews more effective when gathering project information for business cases and business requirement documents.
In this blog we’ll talk about these two options, when we think one works best, when the other, and we’ll also discuss the crucial third option that is often overlooked – collaborative online environments.

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The Cool NLP AI Technology of COGITO® Discover

ESTIMATED READING TIME: 4 MINUTES

The Cool NLP AI Technology of COGITO® Discover

Software company Expert System, based in Italy, have recently expanded into the Australian market after existing in Europe and north America for some time.
They’re specialists in artificial intelligence (AI), machine learning, and natural language processing, which we all know can do some cool things and is a real tech growth area. But Expert System have utilised cognitive AI with a proprietary built-in knowledge graph that together avoid the pitfalls of pure machine learning and become a much more powerful tool for “reading” unstructured information.

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The Haunted (data ware)House of Horrors:
A nightmare journey through warehouse project hell

ESTIMATED READING TIME: 7 MINUTES

The Haunted (data ware)House of Horrors

As we approach the haunting week of Halloween, images of spooky, evil creatures begin to appear everywhere, from google search pages to the neighbour’s front yards. But if you’ve spent any amount of time working in organisations that collect large amounts of data that gets funnelled into a corporate dashboard, we can almost guarantee the scariest scene you most often face is the cursed reports generated from bone-chilling and deathly data warehouses. Let’s take a quick walk through the harrowing halls of the data warehouse of horrors…

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C-Suite Special Series Part 4:
Management and Governance – get clear on the difference

ESTIMATED READING TIME: 7 MINUTES

Management and Governance – get clear on the difference

This final instalment of our C-Suite Special Series is targeted to one of the most impact-heavy mistakes we see high level management making; one that has the potential to be hugely detrimental to ongoing business assurance, in this age of ever-expanding legal and regulatory requirements.
Management and Governance - Do you know the difference?

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C-Suite Special Series Part 3:
Essential communication skills for CEOs

ESTIMATED READING TIME: 6 MINUTES

Essential communication skills for CEOs

IT staff have an impossible task – to provide the entire enterprise with perfect tools for the collection, storage and usage of data, which must always be perfect because they will then feed perfect reports on which perfect business decisions can be made. One imperfection in the report figures and the IT department gets the blame. But it’s not usually their fault. And almost never their fault entirely. Greater fault often lies with business staff who don’t have sufficient knowledge, or don’t have the skills and tools, to communicate effectively with IT staff. But the imperfect report isn’t really their fault either...

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C-Suite Special Series Part 2:
Why your struggles are your greatest strength

ESTIMATED READING TIME: 6 MINUTES

Why your struggles are your greatest strength

So often in modern businesses we find a culture of covering up, down playing or outright denial of problems, mistakes and struggles. People are fearful of admitting their inability to be perfect and to do everything perfectly, because it may impact their reputation, career or prospects within the company, or even their job security. We know how this type of culture can undermine business assurance, but it goes deeper than just the long-term security of the business bottom line. Recognising your organisation’s struggles is the clearest signpost to your greatest potential for impact.

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C-Suite Special Series Part 1:
What does being a great business leader really mean?

ESTIMATED READING TIME: 7 MINUTES

What does being a great business leader really mean?

We all know what its like to be “just one of the worker bees” in huge companies who’s C-Suite leaders don’t seem to know or care what’s really happening down on the ground of their business.
Those leaders only stay a few years, they make a few “quick win” decisions that seem to improve the bottom line but everyone knows those decisions will come back to bite the company in a few years. And we all know...

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Better Business Assurance 101: Information Governance

ESTIMATED READING TIME: 8 MINUTES

Better Business Assurance 101: Information Governance

In Season Two of the Netflix production 'A Series of Unfortunate Events', we see the Bauldelaire children befriend Hal, the overseer of a hospital records library. In Hal’s library, records arrive down a chute and filing can begin. In keeping with the quirky nature of the series, it’s clear that while Hal runs an imbecilely tidy and efficient library, filing things immediately and with minimal fuss, the system has been created to get things filed without much thought to why anyone might want to file, keep or access the items being filed. It’s a humorous and silly twist in the ongoing saga, but for those of us who’ve worked in or with large organisations, that create large amounts of (particularly digital) information, it cuts amusingly close to the bone.

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The Lessons of Wiki – Why businesses need an absolute truth

ESTIMATED READING TIME: 3 MINUTES

The Lessons of Wiki – Why businesses need an absolute truth

For several years it’s been recognised that Wikipedia’s army of contributors is shrinking. To add further complexity to our search for reliable information, we are unavoidably subjected to short snippets of news for which facts must largely be assumed. Of greater concern is that these same patterns and practices are creeping into our business information.

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The Cost of Convenience Part 2: Digital Disruption

ESTIMATED READING TIME: 3 MINUTES

The Cost of Convenience: Digital Disruption

Digital disruption is becoming a necessary consideration for every industry and individual. While the initial consumer savings may be a welcome change, the impact on our entire economy is looming and the outlook isn’t particularly good.

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The Cost of Convenience Part 1: Cyber Security

ESTIMATED READING TIME: 2 MINUTES

The Cost of Convenience: Cyber Security

As the new year does its best to wake up and start Australia moving once again, I can’t shake the one topic that sums up my current thinking about 2018: Uber.
It seems that it was 2017’s issues of cyber security that threaten to have the biggest immediate impact on all of our day to day lives in the coming year and beyond.
Uber’s recent revelation of its cyber security breech came at an interesting time for me, not because I’m likely to be one of the 1.2 million Australians in the Uber breach but because, as a business owner, the threat of being hacked is an ever-increasing concern.

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Why IT staff should care about how the business defines its terms

ESTIMATED READING TIME: 4 MINUTES

Why IT staff should care about how the business defines its terms

When someone in your business asks you to build a “solution” to meet their business need, it’s the start of a long process you both hope will be successful.

But we know that’s not always the case. And when it isn’t, they’ll blame you for blowing out time and/or budget and for the end product not being what they wanted.

You’ll likely be able to point out that you delivered what they asked for, but what they asked for wasn’t what they really wanted, and how were you meant to know that?

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The Cost of Flawed Intelligence

ESTIMATED READING TIME: 3 MINUTES

The Cost of Flawed Intelligence

We are all experiencing the rise of “big data” and “analytics” as key strategic initiatives in large organisations. I find myself often questioning whether these expensive investment decisions are based on facts about real business issues or more on opinions and analytical assumptions, often reinforced by technology vendors.
But without understanding an organisation’s operational and informational issues, there can be little chance of solid return from such investment. The decisions are being based on “flawed” intelligence – and we know where that can lead.

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Data, Information and ensuring Michelin quality in the dining room

ESTIMATED READING TIME: 3 MINUTES

Data, Information and ensuring Michelin quality in the dining room

Once an expertly prepared meal leaves the kitchen, the Michelin starred chef knows that the dish will be carried through the dining room in a specific way, presented to the table according to standards and protocols...
But in your business, who’s controlling the delivery, presentation, usage and accompaniments to your information artefacts? Can those who are consuming those business information artefacts assume everything has been controlled so that their experience of the information will be of a consistent quality?

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Data, Information and why Michelin starred chefs are control freaks in their kitchens

ESTIMATED READING TIME: 3 MINUTES

Data, Information and why Michelin starred chefs are control freaks in their kitchens

A Michelin starred chef runs a tight ship in his kitchen.
The kitchen team have a clear hierarchy. Each member has very specific responsibilities. They follow strict food preparation instructions, following exact recipes.
It is no less important for your organisation to govern its business information kitchen. The creation of business information resources (we like to call them artefacts) should be strongly governed, to guarantee the business and financial assurance of the company.

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Data, Information and why Michelin star chefs don’t buy supermarket produce

ESTIMATED READING TIME: 3 MINUTES

Data, Information and why Michelin star chefs don’t buy supermarket produce

You know that moment, the first mouthful of the dish, when the taste powerfully infuses through your taste buds and somehow takes over your entire focus – the meal is THAT good. The difference between that Michelin quality meal and our home cooked “good enough” dinner is not dissimilar to information produced from data stores within organisations. The same raw data is available to all but the results that come from using it can vary greatly...

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Aircraft Wing Failure (and Why Business Definition Standards are Essential to Information Governance)

ESTIMATED READING TIME: 4 MINUTES

Aircraft Wing Failure and Business Definition Standards Essential to Information Governance

In the mid 80s I worked for an aircraft manufacturer. My job there involved assigning identification numbers to raw materials – everything from sheet metal to bags of rivets and fasteners to avionics – and tracking their use against each manufactured component of the aircraft. Similar to data lineage, this requirement covers the eventuality of a component failure in an operational aircraft, allowing traceability back to the faulty component batch and forward to other aircraft using components from the same batch. But my story here is about the aircraft design, in particular, wing design...

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DMZ, Wooden Stairs and Data Modelling

ESTIMATED READING TIME: 2 MINUTES

Wooden Stairs and Data Modelling

For several years, I’ve been concerned with a trend in my clients’ DW and BI groups to leave the data modelling (design) to the ETL developers (builders). My concerns here aren’t ones of safety, like the stairs, but of (a) the future of data modelling...

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Cookies or Biscuits? The Power of a Common Business Language

ESTIMATED READING TIME: 2 MINUTES

Common Business Language

With today’s data explosion, we are drowning in data but starving for information. The onslaught of cheap processing power and data storage has enabled a significant increase in the data stored within an organisation. Unfortunately, in many cases that data cannot provide business intelligence (or information) because there is no clear translation from the data to our information needs or vice versa.

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