Going Digital? Think about your data before your processes!

To us, your organisational data model is your software floor plan and the relationships, reporting requirements, performance, and relevance the inputs into this model. This article discusses the validity of focusing on your organisational data in preference of system processes initially and why this will underpin your digital solutions well into the future.

We want to talk to you about data and why, other than people and their ideas, this is the single most important asset you will ever have when implementing a digital platform.

Think of building a relevant and intelligent digital platform as a house. A house needs a well-designed and useable floor plan. You need to consider orientation, room size, purpose, light, among many other inputs into a floor plan that will be sustainable and enjoyable for many years to come.

“Your data is, by far, the most important asset you will ever have.”

To us, your organisational data model is your software floor plan and the relationships, reporting requirements, performance, and relevance the inputs into this model.

We believe that software solutions consist of two essential elements; the “What” and the “How”. The “What” refers to the underlying data model that drives the solution; these are entities (or data tables), attributes, and relationships that reflect your organisation’s data needs. The “How” describes system processes, workflows, notifications, and automation of actions.

Whilst the definition of your organisation’s system and business processes is critical to the success of any delivery, our approach is to initially focus on the data model and its accuracy and endorsement from your stakeholders.

We do this because we believe that a precise data model will drive every behaviour of your future-state software solution; this includes reporting, analytics, integrations, as well as automated processes.

All of our implementations focus on data for as long as required to get the model as close to perfect as possible; we believe that an intelligently designed data model will almost ensure success on your project whilst great process can never make up for a poorly designed data model.

Keep thinking about your data, all the time. It will make sure you are successful.

Having outlined our belief system to you, let’s take a moment to look at the downside of not focusing on your information architecture as the foundational solution dimension.

Most traditional digital systems have been developed by looking at the current operational processes and evolving your future-state processes using these. Whilst this has validity during an implementation, we don’t believe this can be the initial focus and here is why.

  1. Processes change over time; new ideas will come, new people will bring new ways of doing things, regulation will change which demands a different way of operating.
  2. Your stakeholders and clients will change in the way they expect yo to interact with them; social has had a huge impact on this and it’s entirely foreseeable that new technologies will once again change your communication channels.

Given the above, if your digital solutions have been built based on a process at a time, you are now “locked in” to this way of working and any impacts from the above changes will either result in expensive and complex system changes or, even worse, the introduction of new solutions to bridge the functional gap that has now been created.

Disconnected systems will create disconnected data and therefore your ability to understand your data and take advantage of the value of your data is dramatically reduced; the solution is to focus on a consistent and relevant data model that underpins future process change.

At Vertic, we believe your data architecture is the key to your success when implementing new digital solutions; it will drive personas, user experiences, use cases, integrations, as well as operational and strategic reporting.

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