Tuesday, 21 February 2012

BI Think Tank Summary, February 7, 2012

With a vision of Continuous Improvement in how CORADIX tries to positively influence the Business Intelligence (BI) situation in the Federal Government, we asked some of our top BI consultants to a brainstorming think tank on the issues of identifying obstacles to success.
With over 200 years of experience in the room (we are not that old, but there was quite a few people present), this is a summary of what we came up with in no particular order.
  • The method of procurement used requires you to understand the problem, before you actually do, in many cases.
  • There is a religious belief that the dominant ERP’s have all the answers.
  • BI programs don’t really exist – they just call them that?
  • Systems are not designed to report.
  • BI is not considered an influencer.
  • Business is very separate from IT departments, and they do not communicate very well with each other.
  • Managers are not trained to think of the whole systems development life cycle.
  • Boundaries are a big problem.
  • Definition of metadata is a huge problem.
  • Clients don’t give requirements; they give their version of a solution.
  • Clients don’t know how to express themselves/their requirements.
  • There is a need for better client sponsorship of BI programs.
We discussed the emergence of Agile BI from products such as Endeca, QlikTech, Tableau, and how these tools provide quick win solutions, and are succeeding in response to conventional BI programs that are failing. But, we mostly agreed that we could take advantage of this technology to enhance conventional systems. By empowering the user, we help to promote the importance of good quality data amongst the business users, and allow them to become better educated on their real requirements.

There was also a unanimous agreement on the need for the famous “purple people” coined in Wayne Eckerson’s presentation at theTDWI chapter meeting, describing the mix of a business savvy IT people, or IT savvy business people to cross the communication chasm between IT and business.

We identified the realities of dealing with federal government organizations – like getting executive sponsorship on long term projects from executives that are frequently on the move from one Department to another.

Please let us know if these are touching some of your buttons or if you have other ones we have overlooked.
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Comments on the Value of the Big Bucket Approach, from Bruce Miller

Bruce Miller, Founder and President of www.rimtech.ca shares his perspectives on the value of the Big Bucket approach to developing more effective and manageable retention schedules. He observed the following: “These are all good points you make Andrew. With this Big Bucket Approach you’re actually placing a less granular (bigger bucket) version of the retention schedule “in front of” the actual, detailed schedule. Suppose we have the following (3) accounting buckets:
  • Cost Accounting 4 years
  • General Accounting 5 years
  • Retail Accounting 6 years
We can replace all of them with a single bigger bucket simply called ACCOUNTING, and set the retention period to 6 years, the longest of the smaller buckets. The consolidation has a profoundly positive effect on end user classification in a large EDRMS Project. Users can now classify faster, and easier. This leads to a big increase in overall enterprise-wide classification accuracy rate, which is crucial to the success of any EDRMS system.

Without a doubt this calls for some rather radical rethinking of the modern retention schedule and the practices surrounding it. There is no question there’s a price to pay for it – some documents will be kept longer than they need to be according to their original (shorter) retention periods. However that small price is more than worth it for the huge benefit of an acceptably high classification rate.”
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Wednesday, 8 February 2012

How Long Should I Keep My Records?

The proliferation of electronic records imposes a daunting task on organizations to effectively manage their records retention schedules. The challenge is how to strike a balance between legal and regulatory requirements and a more manageable retention schedule by consolidating similar or related record series into a fewer number of retention categories. A possible solution to this vexing problem is what is referred to as the “Big Bucket Theory” articulated by Susan Cisco: “Big Buckets for Simplifying Record Retention Schedules.” The premise of the theory is that aggregating record types into fewer retention buckets may result in a more simplified and accurate classification scheme.  Improved classification will in turn promote more efficient disposition, thereby reducing the propensity to retain records too long. From a legal perspective, a streamlined retention schedule may reduce the risks associated with having to potentially incur onerous document production costs in the event of a discovery requests.

On the other hand, the “Big Bucket Theory” requires application of longer retention periods to records that constitute a larger bucket. This may result in having to retain records for longer periods than it may be otherwise required and in increased risk of having to produce documents pursuant to litigation hold. Some argue that “the disadvantage in more complex environments is that this type of approach can result in the unnecessary retention of large amounts of records, as retention “big buckets” default to the longest retention requirement of their components.”

The potential application and value of the “Big Bucket Theory” depends on a number of factors.   Susan Cisco cautions that “In the final analysis, organizations need to weigh the odds of end users properly classifying content against risks of potentially retaining content longer than necessary. These risks are unique to each organization and are based on its history of litigation and regulatory scrutiny, its culture for risk tolerance, and its resourcing constraints.”
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Thursday, 2 February 2012

A New Report on Government of Canada Electronic Recordkeeping Requirements; an Assessment

In a recent plenary presentation titled: Moving the Federal Information Management (IM) Agenda ForwardCorrine Charrette, Chief Information Officer Treasury Board Secretariat of Canada stressed the Government of Canada IM strategy is to ensure that “information is safeguarded as a public trust and managed as a strategic asset.” The Library and Archives Record Keeping Methodology provides the tools and processes necessary to identify value and control information resources of business value.

But what about an implementation methodology and best practices associated with the development of electronic record keeping systems? What electronic records management standards must an electronic records management solution support? What should the success metrics be in measuring outcomes arising from the implementation of an electronic records management solution?

Treasury Board Secretariat has made it clear in the Directive on Electronic Recordkeeping that Canada has adopted the International Council on Archives Module 2 requirements for EDRMS solutions. There you have it – all EDRMS solutions for GC must comply with the ICA Module 2 requirements.

To address these issues Bruce Miller the President and Founder of www.rimtech.ca has just completed an authoritative report. The report is entitled “Government of Canada EDRMS Requirements – an Assessment”.  The report is a comprehensive assessment of the requirements from a vendor-neutral, independent expert point of view. It answers the following two questions:

1.       What are the absolute minimum requirements that I will need, and which ones can I defer?
2.       How do OpenText and Microsoft SharePoint comply with the requirements?

We are making RIMtech’s new report on GC RK Requirements available for download here.

Hope you will find this Report informative.
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