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Turning Utility Data into an Enterprise Asset

By in Data Management | December 20, 2019

Most organizations today are data-driven to some degree and utilities are no exception. Leveraging the information generated across different points of the operation is critical for improving processes, diagnosing potential issues and resolving them quickly while creating efficiencies of scale.

Utilities, like companies in most other industries, often fall victim to a siloed approach to data management, thus limiting the enterprise-wide effectiveness as information is inconsistent and unit specific. Silos typically develop and exist in organizations because the data meets the needs of the individual group and there is an unwillingness to change the way it’s collected and used, partly in fear of disrupting a process that is working for the business unit. The problem is that the quality of this data is normally insufficient for enterprise use.

The Pillars of Effective Data Management

If organizations are serious about maximizing the potential of their data, they must establish a strategy that includes best practices around people, processes, and technologies to facilitate agile and adaptable information management solutions.

This approach, commonly referred to as Enterprise Information Management (EIM), encompasses five key pillars: vision and strategy, governance, core processes, organization, and infrastructure. By adopting these principles, enterprises can achieve the primary goals of every data-driven organization, including:

  • Better decision-making capabilities based on higher-quality data
  • Operational efficiencies through consistent access to identical information
  • Standard repeatable processes
  • Greater transparency and more effective communication and coordination with strategic goals

Governance, Management and Quality

For data to be enterprise ready, it must meet strenuous standards that guarantee the overall quality, repeatability and consistency required to inform strategic business decisions.

The first critical area of concern is data governance, or the process of planning, managing, monitoring, and enforcing enterprise policies for data assets. Data governance is a set of policies that ensure all incoming data is evaluated and managed the same. This confirms the enterprise data is consistent across all use cases.

Next is data management. Management is part of the overall data governance process. The management process applies to all mapping and transformation rules for source and target systems. The “owner” systems are defined, and all existing integrations are accessible as part of an integration portfolio. The management process also encompasses data integrity and guarantees the meaning of the data remains unchanged for the entire lifecycle of the data.

Lastly to consider is data quality. For data to meet the enterprise standard, it must be fit for use for all requirements in all situations and scenarios. The criteria for establishing enterprise-level data are typically:

  • Accuracy – correct in all ways and to the degree needed for all uses and standards
  • Consistency – all related elements are aligned with no contradictions in dependencies
  • Completeness – all available data is in the source data stores
  • Structured – all data is structured to the required format and structure
  • Auditable – the changes are accessible and traceable
  • Accessible and timely – data is accessible to all those who need it when they need it

A Return Worth the Investment

Breaking down data siloes is a monumental task for most enterprises and utilities. Entrenched processes and habits can be hard to root out and break. It is no small investment of time and resources.

However, it’s no secret that better business decisions begin with better information. To ensure data that is accurate, consistent and accessible, governance and management policies are essential.

Nothing worth doing ever comes easy, and anything worth doing is worth doing right—words to live by when it comes to your enterprise data management strategy.

For more information on how Xtensible Solutions can help you institute a data management system that meets your requirements, please visit xtensible.net/solutions.

 

 

 

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