Data, Information and ensuring Michelin quality in the dining room

Mark Atkins, Intraversed


Data, Information and Michelin quality in the dining room

In our previous blogs, we’ve introduced the idea that business information resources, or artefacts, are like meals, created in commercial kitchens. They use raw produce (data), follow a recipe (protocols) to create the dish (an information artefact). [Read it here]

We then went on to explain why the farmer who supplies the raw produce (your IT department supplying raw data) can not be held responsible for what the Chef and his kitchen team (your staff using that data) do with it. This needs business information governance. [Read it here]

But there’s more to effective business information governance

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, wait staff will interact with diners in a certain manner and the physical dining room environment will reflect a very specifically chosen design that creates exactly the look, feel and experience the chef intended.

All of these extra details add meaning and value to the experience of eating the meal. And customers who eat at Michelin Star restaurants assume these elements will be of the highest quality.

That’s why they pay the big bucks and keep the restaurant busy.

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?

Because, if consumers of your business information “meal” take it, cover it with “condiments” and combine it with mismatched “wine” and reheat it in the “microwave”, before using it to “feed a hungry” business purpose, it could mean a disastrous, “all-you-can-eat buffet” of business assurance issues.

Governance for the Business Dining Room

Because what happens in the dining room is so important, Michelin star restaurant owners hire a variety of staff to control what goes on in there – head waiters, sommeliers, maître d’s etc., who all ensure the meal has the powerful impact on diners that the Chef intends.

All of these staff, and the protocols they follow, are overseen by the restaurant manager, who continues to monitor the quality of the restaurant, identifying where outcomes are slipping, and addressing issues quickly.

Similarly, organisations that want to be producing Michelin quality information artefacts need governance teams (i.e. restaurant managers) to oversee the conditions surrounding the presentation, use and combination of artefacts, ensuring users get the best quality information possible (i.e. the best dining experience).

Doesn’t IT data governance ensure high quality information?

IT data governance is like the advice the farmer gives to the chef on how to get the best from the raw produce. But it can not control what the chef does with the produce.

IT data governance can not control how the business information artefacts are created by staff, nor how the artefacts they create are understood, used or combined with other information or data, once they are distributed.

The ramifications of misused business information artefacts increase when we realise that they include financial reports, customer-facing information such as websites, artefacts used for high level business decisions and legal artefacts, such as contracts and MOUs.

Recognising and addressing business information governance is essential to a healthy business assurance strategy, as it is vital to organisational success and security.

What we’ve seen going wrong because of poor business information governance

Intraversed have a long history of seeing the consequences of inadequate information governance in companies in varied fields, such as insurance, telecommunications, government and pharmaceutical.

These consequences include:

  • conflicting numbers for the same metric in various reports, leaving executives and CEO’s unable to make solid decisions based on reliable numbers
  • potential legal problems from inadvertent breeches of contract or regulatory non-compliance
  • failed product-performance reporting projects
  • loss of investment due to misrepresentation of information to market

Effective information governance in these organisations would include:

  • clear business term definition and ownership,
  • protocols on the use of data in reporting,
  • clear privacy and security standards for use of content in outputs
  • clear responsibility for information artefact life cycle management and
  • easy, transparent and trackable business issue management.

Solid information governance empowers the business community to ensure all information artefacts contain reliable information and are:

  • safe to distribute,
  • life cycle monitored,
  • fit-for-purpose,
  • easily locatable,
  • conform to a transparent accountability structure and
  • cost effective to produce.

In the organisations where we’ve witnessed the worst cases of a poor information governance, we have seen:

  • increased operational costs,
  • wasted staff time and effort,
  • loss of information artefacts,
  • poor quality decisions at the C-level and
  • frustrated CEO’s who are impeded from leading well or making sound decisions.

If you want a Michelin Star quality information artefact you need Michelin Star quality information governance.

Mark Atkins, Intraversed

Mark Atkins

Mark is a co-founder & Chief Development Officer at Intraversed, helping organisations establish the Intralign Ecosystem, an award winning information management & governance methodology, to achieve reliable information, stable tech spend & greater IT project success.

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