"Data is a core business asset that has value to the organisation and is managed accordingly."
Data asset management concerns the identification and good governance of data and information across an organisation. Data is a valuable corporate resource; it has real, measurable value. This is especially so in the case of £multi-million contracts under PPP and PFI frameworks.
In simple terms, the purpose of data is to aid decision-making. Accurate, timely data is critical to accurate, timely decisions. Most corporate assets are carefully managed, and as up to 80% of an organisation’s value rests in its data assets, data can be no exception. Data is the foundation of our decision-making, so we must also carefully manage data to ensure that we know what we’ve got, where it is, can rely upon its accuracy, and can obtain it when and where we need it.
Implications for data asset management
Data asset management is one of three closely-related principles regarding data: data is an asset; data is shared; and data is easily accessible. The implication is that there is an education task to ensure that all departments within the organisation understand the relationship between value of data, sharing of data, and accessibility to data. In other words, they understand the necessity for proper data asset management.
Accountability and job descriptions
Data used must be classified into high-level groupings to which final accountability for quality can be assigned. If any employee has responsibility for upkeep of data in any form, this must be clearly stated in their job description and identified as a measure in their Performance Review process.
In practice this will apply to all office-based employees to varying degrees. All employees with any kind of data responsibility must have the authority and means to manage the data for which they are accountable.
Procedures must be developed and used to prevent and correct errors in information and to improve those processes that produce flawed information. Data quality will need to be measured and steps taken to improve data quality - it is probable that policy and procedures will need to be developed for this as well.
Data management forum
For suitable organisations, a forum with comprehensive enterprise-wide representation should decide on process changes suggested by data stewards (or role with similar term implying custodianship or trusteeship).
Since data is an asset of value to the entire enterprise, data stewards accountable for creation, quality and retention/disposal of data must be assigned at a suitably senior level.