Springtime is nature’s way of allowing your neighbors to judge you based on whether your house is in order. The sun’s light shines on that faded deck, the overgrown lawn, and those cracks in the paint that have grown deeper and more extensive in the past few months. While deep down we know all of these chores are necessary, it isn’t until we allocate our resources to check-off some of these duties, and are motivated by shame or pride (take your pick). A CIO’s motivation is not that much different from the driving emotions that provoke you to manage your household. Data piles up in the corners and is swept under the rug. Springtime proves an excellent excuse from some honest accounting and action items.
Like our garages, closets and backyards, most data environments are overfilled and untapped for their incredible potential. With big data, CIOs got overly excited about building up quantity, forgetting about the quality and access issues that would come with going from a sampling of information to an overabundance. So, in the spirit of the season, what should be the CIO’s Spring Cleaning To-Do List?
1. Assess Your Data Garden
The master gardeners out there know the seasons by just walking outside. CIOs don’t have quite the ease of opening a door to see how things are going, but there are quite a few ways to check-in on whether or not the organization is getting what they need. Great CIOs take a similar approach to taking a look around their company’s knowledge garden to see how things are going. Schedule some time to get on some distribution lists, meet up with senior leaders, or even chat with a junior analyst. Are people getting the information they need? What could be better? Get out there and find out if your data garden is bearing fruit? Whether the answer is no or yes, how can you nurture what you have into something greater?
2. Weeding Dirty Data
Treating the symptoms, but not the core problem is oftentimes how we have to get through our workdays. As CIO, look at the weeds that keep popping back up. Is it dirty data? Look for ways to get cleaner data, and, in turn, better results. When was the last time you evaluated how data is collected and the improvements that have been made in data capture in your organization? The quest for the low-maintenance data garden is neverending.
3. Plan for What’s Next
After all the investigation and cleaning, what’s left to do? It’s compiling the wish list for tomorrow. Just like a plot of land, our data landscape is ripe with possibilities, but they’re not going to materialize today. After all, we reap what we sow. Make a habit of taking time to assess and make that list. By identifying your needs (and wants), you can start crafting what you want, piece by piece, in hopes that next spring, you’ll be planning for bigger and better, rather than fixing and cleaning.
For more, listen to this webinar featuring Forrester Research principal analyst, Mike Gualtieri.