Principle 10: Data is Shared

Classification:  Data Principle

Statement: Users have access to the data necessary to perform their duties; therefore, data is shared across enterprise functions and organisations.

Rationale: Maintaining data in a single environment (“single source of truth”) and then sharing it in response to business needs has distinct advantages for the organisation:

  • Speeds data collection, creation, transfer, and assimilation.
  • Improves the quality and efficiency of enterprise decision-making which will be based on timely and accurate data.
  • It reduces the costs associated with data management by eliminating the need to maintain multiple databases.
  • Electronically shared data will also result in increased efficiency when existing data entities can be used, without re-keying, to create new entities.

Implications:

  • This is one of three closely-related principles regarding data: data is an asset; data is shared; and data is easily accessible. The implication is that there is an education task to ensure that all organisations within the enterprise understand the relationship between value of data, sharing of data, and accessibility to data.
  • To enable data sharing we must develop and abide by a common set of policies, procedures, and standards governing data management, discovery and access for both the short and the long term.
  • Data should be defined consistently throughout the enterprise, using definitions that are understandable and available to all users. This can be achieved by developing and maintaining an enterprise data dictionary.
  • We will also need to develop standard data models, data elements, and other metadata that defines this shared environment and develop a repository system for storing this metadata to make it accessible.
  • For the short term, to preserve our significant investment in legacy systems, we must invest in software capable of migrating legacy system data into a shared data environment.
  • For the long term, as legacy systems are replaced, we must adopt and enforce common data access policies and guidelines for new application developers to ensure that data in new applications remains available to the shared environment and that data in the shared environment can continue to be used by the new applications.
  • For both the short term and the long term we must adopt common methods and tools for creating, maintaining, and accessing the data shared across the enterprise.
  • Data sharing will require a significant cultural change.
  • This principle of data sharing will continually conflict with the principle of data security. Under no circumstances will the data sharing principle cause confidential, personal or sensitive data to be compromised.
  • Data made available for sharing will have to be relied upon by all users to execute their respective tasks. This will ensure that only the most accurate and timely data is relied upon for decision-making. Shared data will become the enterprise-wide ‘‘virtual single source’’ of data.
  • Data where applicable, will be available externally to the enterprise. This will afford both rich service provision and also the ability to perform research collaboratively with partners.