Book Club

Data Driven by Thomas Redman

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Data driven by Redman

Why I read this book

The phrase ‘data drive’ is becoming more and more popular these days and while I thought I’d a good handle on what it means for a business to be data driven, I wanted to brush up on my understanding. A friend recommended Thomas Redman’s book and I’m delighted she did! Not alone did it put perspective and practical steps around this business challenge, it was easy to read and very digestible.

Quick summary

Data permeates every element of an organisation, it does not follow vertical structure. Unlike other assets, it does not deplete as it gets used, on the contrary it grows, creating new data all the time.If your organisation is not managing and using this data, it is missing a huge opportunity. Redmond takes us through some of the common issues around why organisations are not as good at using data as they should be. In his chapter on the Twelve Barriers to Effective Management of Data and Information Assets, he points out the Fateful Five and the Significant Seven. These could provide an essential check list to help change how your organisation is managing data.

The Fateful Five are typical in most organisations, irrespective of the industry, and centre on the politics and power of sharing data (or not as the case may be), lack of frameworks and practises for privacy and defining standards for data management.

The Significant Seven are not always apparent, but by their title can limit the organisation’s ability to make clear data driven decisions. Here he mentions connecting data and information to performance, assigning responsibility for data high enough up the chain so that change is implemented and the need for good planning to ensure the organisation does not take on too much and cuts across departmental structures.

My greatest take-away

While I found the whole book very useful, perhaps the piece I’ve used most often is the notion of the cost of poor data. Data is rarely, if ever, collected 100% accurately and Redman takes a simple example of how much it costs when the inaccuracy is as low as 1%, which I find a powerful story to tell when you need to secure budget and IT time to clean up data!

Data is your organisation’s key asset and improving the quality and using it more often are the best ways to improve the return on this information asset.

We’d love more people to get involved so if you’d like to see what’s on our reading list drop Anca a line and she’ll send it on .

8 August, 2014 by Tara Grehan


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