Ahead of the Chief Data & Analytics Officer (CDAO) New Zealand, we caught up with Mike Congdon, Head of Enterprise Information Management at New Zealand Post. We discuss the key challenges faced by NZ Post in their transformation journey, the importance of real-time data in an organisation, how organisations can reach a purpose-driven data landscape and much more!
What were the key aims of your transformation journey?
The ultimate objective would be to fully
What were the key challenges from the outset?
- Getting senior level business support is core to the successful implementation of any Data & Analytics (D&A) programme. In contemporary times, D&A is no longer just an IT thing, it’s increasingly becoming a business lead function. So, it’s crucial to get that support from senior business leaders who can help overcome roadblocks and champion what you’re trying to achieve. Another reason why it’s a challenge getting that
senior levelsupport is around costs. Obviously, a lot of initiatives in the D&A space will involve funding to do various things, whether it be to progress technology transformation projects or build D&A solutions. The trick here is to earn the trust and confidence of those who hold the purse strings, and the best way to do that is to demonstrate that you’ve put a lot of thinking into your programme which is backed up by a well-rounded D&A strategy.
- Having the right roles and skills within the D&A team. It’s one thing to come up with a fantastic, compelling D&A strategy, but it’s almost worthless if you don’t have the right resources to bring said to
life. There are often areas in D&A teams that are more overlooked than others, one of which is governance and standards. In my career, I’ve found that for governance and standards, which should underpin a D&A programme, to be given the attention that it deserves you really need to have devoted resource to that area, otherwise, if you don’t the team is going to be too busy tending to more immediate customer needs and requirements. As everyone in the D&A industry knows, end users are a lot more interested in getting their flashy dashboard than they are in your DAMA DMBoK endeavours. Also, with respect to skills, often in organisations D&A teams will include self-trained individuals who may not necessarily have contemporary, recognised or certified skills, which can be a real ‘buy or build’ conundrum – aka, fill skill gaps by recruiting from the market or take a punt on being able to upskill internal staff some of which may be reluctant to change their ways.
- The last challenge relates to silos. Reporting and analytics silos throughout the organisation that are producing reports and analytics that is conflicting with what is being provided by the centralised D&A team. There’s a challenge in getting those people, who are not in the centralised D&A team, on board with the D&A programme so that there is a much more collaborative relationship that doesn’t involve confusing senior business leaders with inconsistent data, analytics and reporting.
What is the importance of near real-time data in your organisation?
We use near real-time data for operational reporting and it’s critical for our operational analysts and managers for day to day decision making. For more strategic reporting, on KPI’s etc, we defer to a monthly view with weekly updates.
What organisational changes have to happen in order to reach a
In the race to become a
The main issue, in terms of policies, is around data privacy and protection. Over the last few months, particularly with GDPR, it’s been quite a big issue for organisations. What I’ve noticed is, because of GDPR, a lot of organisations are tightening things up from a data privacy/protection perspective. It’s a bit of a juggling act because
What are your top issues standing in the way of architectural and data sharing innovation?
Again, I’d have to put that down to data privacy/protection issues. With all the recent discussion around data sharing, how we use data and how we monetise data, it all seems to lead back to data privacy/protection. In some ways, it feels like a roadblock, but really, it’s just something we’ve got to give a lot more attention to, as we try to work out how we achieve what we want to do with our data, but at the same time, ensuring that privacy & protection risks are mitigated.
Mike Congdon, Head of Enterprise Information Management at New Zealand Post.