It’s no secret organizations and agencies are creating, acquiring, and storing more data than ever before. This data explosion is the new reality for government organizations—in fact, there is even a federal data strategy being developed to guide agencies on how to manage and use all the data at their disposal.
Our customers understand the value and potential of their information, but they’re quickly realizing how unmanageable the situation is. They are overwhelmed by the sheer volume and distracted by irrelevant data.
We are consistently asked, “How can I make information manageable? How do people actually get value out of their data?”
Quiet the Noise: Focus on What’s Relevant
With so much data and information available, how do you know what to actually pay attention to and what data is something you can actually use?
We recommend starting with a strong understanding of your customers and their mission. What information is actually relevant to their decision making? How do they actually use that information to put decisions into action?
With these answers, you can prioritize the right information sources and build a process for methodically adding the right data to the knowledge base. Focus on what’s important to the mission.
How do you extract value out of your data? Start by narrowing your focus to what’s relevant.
While identifying relevant data is a huge piece of the puzzle, there’s still more work to be done to make your data manageable. You also need to understand format, see the big picture at all times, and train your people to use data well. Let’s take a closer look.
How Your Teams Use Data: Paying Attention to Format
In addition to understanding what your teams are working on, you need to understand how they work:
- What platforms do they operate on?
- What tools do they use to exploit their data?
- What deliverables do they need for their superiors and other stakeholders?
Format is at the heart of these questions. If you can understand the format they need, you can help them be more efficient and accomplish more of their mission.
For example, if a client only has a few minutes in front of senior decision-makers, they need a compelling product that clearly shows their conclusions. A clear data visualization gets buy-in; a ten thousand-row spreadsheet gets ignored.
However, if they are tackling the same problem set with a group of analysts, the underlying data is critical to understanding the issue and developing recommended courses of action. In this case, the raw data or working files may be relevant and most useful.
The right format to make data usable starts with understanding the audience and how they use it.
Don’t Lose Sight of the Forest: Make The Data Relevant and Use the Entire Knowledge Base
Another key component of making data manageable is understanding what data your teams are using, what data they’re not using, and what data they should be using to stay focused on the mission and meet their strategic goals.
If you’re part of the knowledge management team (whether as an internal team or an outside vendor), you have a view others do not. You’ve organized the whole knowledge base of the organization and have a more complete view of those assets than anyone else.
Your perspective may also provide a unique opportunity to connect individuals and teams that are working on related initiatives.
Making data manageable means delivering relevant information in the best format, drawing from the entire available knowledge base.
Teach Good Data Habits: Build a Community of Success Around the Data
At Tesla, we also believe training and building a community of knowledge collaborators is a huge part of making information manageable. Data platforms and practices are constantly changing, and most people in your organization have a very basic understanding of them.
By training your users on details like tagging, advanced discovery, and technology-enabled version control, you empower your knowledge community to find what they need while also keeping your data easily usable for all current and future users. As each member of your organization becomes a better consumer and user of data, the data quality itself gets better, making your entire enterprise more efficient and effective.
Make a Commitment to Managing Information
The firehose of data and information is our new reality, but being overwhelmed and distracted by data volume doesn’t have to be yours. Organizations that commit to making their information manageable by insisting on using best practices for their knowledge base will be the thought and mission leaders in the new data environment.
Their stakeholders will employ their data to make accurate, informed decisions for the good of their missions, while organizations without strong information management will still be figuring out what data they should even pull for analysis.
Don’t Know Where to Start?
We do. At Tesla Government we specialize in organizing data and knowledge so it is findable and usable. Let’s talk!