Travellers on London Underground will be familiar with the term “Mind the Gap” which is both a visible, and an audio, warning to make sure that you do not become an unfortunate statistic on the railway – you may lose items between the train and platform (hang on to your Kindle when boarding!) or, worse still, trip/slip in the gap.
It is also important that you “Mind the (data) gap” when ‘things’ are transferred between organisations, departments and systems. I have used the term ‘thing’ to cover designs, products, services, responsibilities etc.
Whilst this may seem an obvious statement from a data context, particularly now that Data Migration is being increasingly understood as a discipline in itself (as defined in Johny Morris’s excellent book “Practical Data Migration”), this is not always the case.
So where do problems arise? Often, if a project is a system replacement/upgrade project, then data migration is included in the overall project plan. This is typically through the knowledge and awareness of IT/data professionals.
However, if the ‘thing’ that is being transferred is a design, perhaps for a new building, or a process plant being handed over to its operators, then data is sometimes not considered appropriately. This arises because non-data professionals do not fully understand the importance of data and what good data enables organisations to achieve. The management focus can tend to be on the service, building or plant being created, assuming that ‘data’ will magically sort itself out.
In construction industry, the term BIM (Building Information Modelling) and the concepts that it embodies are increasingly being used to describe techniques and tools to allow data to be transferred between different parties throughout the life of a building/facility without loss of data at these interfaces.
A key concept is:
Information about the assets/facilities being delivered is as important a project deliverable as the asset itself
How do you ensure that people understand the importance of information deliverables?