Prioritize Your Reference Data to Manage

Prioritize Your Reference Data to Manage

StockSnap_WFYCG7P8Q2_FingerPaintChoices_PrioritizeRefData_BPDo not make everything reference data in your data governance area.  This blog post will discuss that only the key ones should be documented and managed. And new ones should be added to over time. We covered what is reference data in a previous blog post.

Perform pragmatic just-in-time data governance. It must be manageable from a governance standpoint. Remember that reference data is probably documented in the software documentation so does exist somewhere else. But do document the ones that would affect your organization if it were changed. Focus on things that you have time to look at and are important to you.

Our suggestion is to look at every master record screen you have and mark down the status for that record and its options. You probably have some of the following:

  • Employee status
  • Customer status
  • Vendor status
  • Student status
  • Product status
  • Shipment status
  • Invoice status
  • Purchase order status
  • Work order status
  • Ticket status

Use these as your 1st ones to document in your data governance system. While on these master screens make a list of other possible fields that could be considered reference data. Something like Gender should be on your list to document as, especially if you have a lot of employees, it has changed some over the past few years.

Look at your key reports (at-risk student, service backlog, etc.), say 10 to 15 reports, and see what reference data possible fields are used and add them to the reference data consideration list.

Remember you do not have to do everything at once. Data governance is about consistent improvement. Maybe have a goal of documenting a few reference data lists a month until you have done the above priority ones and then create a list of the next ones to do. Hope that this reference data-related blog post is helpful to you and your organization.  Additional reference data resources (blog posts, videos, recorded webinars, etc.) can be found in this blog post.

IData has a solution, the Data Cookbook, that can aid the employees and the organization in its data governance, 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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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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