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.Read it
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...Read it
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.
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.
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.Read it
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.Read it
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…Read it
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.
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.
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…Read it
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?Read it
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...Read it
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.Read it
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...Read it
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.Read it
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.Read it
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.Read it
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.Read it
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?Read it
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.Read it
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?Read it
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.
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...Read it
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...Read it
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...Read it
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.Read it
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