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Elevate Your Undestanding

Hidden Data

One of the first steps to improvement is creating the ability to "see" or "visualize" what it is you want to change. This is one of the key tenants of the LEAN mindset and it applies not only to the flow of work but also to the flow of data.

In many organizations, data of all kinds remain largely hidden and not directly available to those that need it. Critical data is often buried in documents, reports, excel spreadsheets, numerous databases, and also now in the "Cloud". Many hours are wasted as people search for information they need to perform their jobs.

This situation is expected to worsen as the demand for data continues to increase. Unfortunately, making data visible and readily available has not advanced as far as many had hoped. Even with the availability of numerous information technologies; information remains mediated behind administration staff, power users, and those that can remember were the report you want is located.

The choice of technologies is an important factor to address hidden data. However, there are other significant factors that contribute to why data remains hidden. These factors have more to do with how data is governed rather than what technology is used.

Examples include:

  • Managing data in silos making data more difficult to find

  • Not utilizing existing technologies that could help to make information more visible

  • Continuing to support legacy systems that should otherwise be retired

  • Recreating data whenever information cannot be found rather than identifying the root cause and fixing the process

  • Not knowing what data is critical and what data can and should no longer be stored

The management and availability of data is essential to supporting compliance processes. Without improvement in data visibility companies will continue to waste valuable resources recreating data, storing unnecessary data, and searching for information needed to perform roles.

Plan-Do-Check-Act Questions

  1. What benefits would you see if data was more visible and easier to access?

  2. What would need to change to see improvements in how data is managed and made available?

  3. What step can you take towards those changes?


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