Connecting people is at the core of Business Glossary

We can all agree that it’s a new world following the Covid-19 pandemic, and nowhere more so than in our work life. Decades-old work routines were turnout upside down in a mere few weeks. The standard routine of morning commutes to a workplace and spending most of the day in a space with colleagues and then returning home in the evenings, day after day, was gone in an instance. Events, business trips, customer meetings, and conferences all came to a screeching halt.

The incredible power of human adaptability was full on display. We adjusted in no time to work from home, interacting with colleagues through virtual means, and we adapted our daily routines to this new reality.

It quickly became evident to many that this new routine was missing some crucial elements of work and productivity. The lack of face-to-face interaction, spontaneous discussions, and being physically amongst other people who share our daily professional goals was profound, and challenged human adaptability – We are, after all, creatures of community.

As numerous surveys told us, during 2020 and 2021, people desired some form of return to physical human interaction in the workplace (mainly in a hybrid form).
Humans have a strong need and desire for face-to-face communication, getting energized and inspired by the presence of those who share our mission, and the irreplaceable creativity that comes from humans sitting together for focused group discussions in a single room.

It’s nearly impossible to predict how things will continue to shape up, but there is one thing for certain – Investing in everything related to communication is key. Bridging communication gaps and optimizing processes is a fundamental need and a critical success factor.

While communication gaps were opened in almost every part of the business, I want to focus on the gaps created in the Data & Analytics (D&A) space. Over the last decade, the data space has evolved exponentially. This was especially accelerated by the pandemic as companies rushed their digitalization projects and migration to the cloud. Coupled with the already wide adoption of advanced and user-friendly BI solutions, everyone had access to data applications, and companies could spread processed data to every corner of the organization.

The speed of transformation in the D&A landscape in organizations opened a wide chasm between data providers (the various data teams who own the data infrastructure) and the data consumers (business stakeholders who need to make decisions). This gap also affected ML developers, engineering teams, and app product managers.

Let’s look at some examples:

An FP&A analyst who needs to build a new report on the company’s cost data – How can they choose the correct tables and data sets without knowing the full extent of data?

Or a Business Operations Manager without prior SQL experience needs to change the conditions of the query they were given. Or a data scientist that was asked to build a new model to identify the most impactful influencers on NET Churn Rate but has no reference to the accurate and formalized way the company calculates churn.

Back in the pre-pandemic era, when we all worked together at the office, we could just approach the DBA/IT/Data team desk or the domain expert and ask them. It wasn’t always ideal, but it worked, and people were much more approachable.

Nowadays, we have gone from not ideal to dysfunctional. It takes longer than ever to get answers, and the confidence in the completeness and accuracy of the information is massively in question and constantly in decline.

This is where dedicated platforms are critically needed to enable collaboration around D&A across every function. A particularly useful one is an Active Business Glossary that allows you to create a common language between the data provider and consumer, so you can cut the time it takes to get the answers needed and provide confidence in the answers. Sounds pretty great, doesn’t it?

But this  is just the bottom line.

To get there, the data provider and consumer must first come together to connect data with its business context, to set the ground for those individuals who need it.
True, with an accurate active business glossary, most of the work is being done automatically. However, as your data keep evolving and changing, same as your business processes and goals, you should expect this collaboration to continue. Examples could include a new data set you should align to your business, a new alias that contradicts an existing business term definition, a KPI that was derived from a new business goal, and so on – all impacting the new business ontology we have in place, which raises the need to communicate and connect.

It may sound like a nice thing to have in place, but remember – we’re talking about data, and without these essential collaboration practices of defining and certifying data with the proper business context.

How can we expect board meetings and EBRs to run smoothly without arguing over the accuracy and completeness of the presented numbers?

How can one be blamed for not putting their trust in data while taking a critical business decision?

How could organizations practice a data-driven culture without trustworthy data?

D&A takes a strategic place in our professional (and personal) lives more than ever before – and we should connect and work together to ensure it’s been used properly, seamlessly, and continuously. An interactive platform that will allow you to easily collaborate with the content that requires you to do so and a mission-critical topic are vital in connecting people, just  like in the good old days.

Photo by Shoeib Abolhassani on Unsplash

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