Listen to Employees on How to Improve Data Intelligence Efforts

Listen to Employees on How to Improve Data Intelligence Efforts

You want to gain greater acceptance of your data intelligence, data governance, and data catalog efforts at your organization. You do this by getting more employees involved in the efforts and improving the quality and quantity of data governance content such as business glossary entries, data system inventory and report specifications. In this blog post we will provide some questions to ask your employees and what you want to get out of the answers provided so that the data intelligence efforts are improved. On a regular basis, ask a cross section of employees, data users and data contributors from different departments. Listen to what they have to say and improve your data intelligence efforts.



First, ask some high-level questions. Make sure you document the answers to these questions and who provided the answers.

Ask “Is there anything new we should start doing as a data intelligence team?”

This question opens the dialogue and provides ideas on what should be done in the future. Keep the discussion in terms of team and not individuals. Keep the discussions positive.

Ask “How can we improve the training and communication regarding data intelligence?”

This question will allow you to see where employee training and communication to employees can be changed and improved.

Ask “What are the biggest data-related wastes of time for you each week and any ideas how this time wasting can be eliminated?”

You want to eliminate frustration of employees. Find out where workflows and processes need to be in place. Searching for information about data and not understanding the data is sure to be a time waster for employees.  Look for recurring answers. Make these priorities to solve.

Ask “What, if anything, are you least clear about regarding our data intelligence strategy and goals?”

It might be clear in your mind as you are dealing with data intelligence daily. But those you are talking to only deal with it some of the time and maybe you have not communicated to them properly on the strategy and goals. Answers to this question might mean changes to your wording or how you communicate your strategy and goals to others outside of your team.

Ask “How can we improve the ways in which our teams work together?”

Every department is different and how the data intelligence team interacts with them could be different. Maybe some need lunch and learns or increased training. Maybe they need a dedicated data steward. Figure out the best way to work with each department.

Next, ask some more specific questions. Make sure you document the answers to these questions and who provided the answers.  Content in a data governance knowledge base needs to be routinely improved.

Ask “What terms, definitions or acronyms do you need to have a better understanding of our data and organization?”

The organization is always changing. New employees are always being hired. New terms, definitions or acronyms need to be created and added to the data governance content knowledge base. And you learn what entries that need to be created by asking others. Once you have the list, prioritize which entries to create and assign them to the appropriate data steward.

Ask “What reports and integrations are the most critical to you?”

Employees know what reports and integrations are the most important to them. And those are the ones that need to be documented. Once you have the list, prioritize which reports and integrations to document and assign them to the appropriate data steward.  No need to document reports that are never used.

Ask “What data systems are the most critical to you?”

Employees know what data systems they use and are the most critical to them. These need to be documented with information such as how to gain access and where to get additional information. Once you have the data system list, prioritize which ones to document and assign them to the appropriate data steward.

All employees working with data in the organization should be involved with data intelligence and data governance. And they should be listened to on how to improve the data intelligence and data governance efforts. Provide them points of engagement with data governance content and constantly ask them questions. Maybe select one person a week for the entire year to ask questions of. That would be feedback from 50 people in a year. Document their answers and suggestions. And change the data intelligence and data governance efforts (such as what content to do) depending on what they say. Hope that this blog post was helpful.  Additional data governance resources (blog posts, videos, recorded webinars, etc.) can be found here.  Additional data governance-related people resources can be found here.

IData has a solution, the Data Cookbook, that can aid the employees and the organization in its data governance, data intelligence, data stewardship and data quality initiatives. IData also has experts that can assist with data governance, reporting, integration and other technology services on an as needed basis. Feel free to contact us and let us know how we can assist.

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(image credit: StockSnap_GD2LZQ7U05_waterflow_infodataflowcatalog_BP #1254)

Jim Walery
About the Author

Jim Walery is a marketing professional who has been providing marketing services to technology companies for over 20 years and specifically those in higher education since 2010. Jim assists in getting the word out about the community via a variety of channels. Jim is knowledgeable in social media, blogging, collateral creation and website content. He is Inbound Marketing certified by HubSpot. Jim holds a B.A. from University of California, Irvine and a M.A. from Webster University. Jim can be reached at jwalery[at]

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