Data Communities of Interest
Implementing an enterprise approach to collecting and managing core business data is easier said than done. In large organizations, it is not unusual for individual business units to meet their information needs through independent data collection, management and storage systems. This approach leads to duplication of effort across the organization. It also makes it difficult to aggregate and integrate information from different business units to obtain an organization-wide perspective.
A Data Community of Interest (COI) brings staff together from different business areas who have common information needs. They work collaboratively to identify critical data elements, describe how and why they are needed to support business activities, and standardize data definitions. With this foundation in place, the COI identifies and prioritizes actions to improve both data quality and accessibility across the organization.
The COI process must be carefully orchestrated and managed to ensure success. Key steps are:
- Identifying COI members who have the skills and responsibilities required to represent their business units and exercise leadership needed for implementation of the COI’s recommended actions.
- Gaining consensus on the precise subset of data that are within the scope of the COI.
- Collectively developing a concise statement describing the information needs associated with key business decisions.
- Identifying specific data elements that are required to meet the collective information needs, and setting priorities for how current data gaps should be filled.
- Developing strategies for improving data quality, integration and access.
- Working with agency executives and information technology staff to implement the recommended strategies.