• Are you drowning in data? 
  • Do you worry that you don’t have enough?
  • Is your data disparate and disconnected?
  • Do you question the accuracy of your data?
  • Are you taking too long to make business decisions?

If you answered yes, to any or all of these questions, here are the five things every data-savvy business leader should put on their Christmas list…

1. DATA CATALOGUE

Do you have a list of all your data sources in one place? You should, and you can start by creating a data catalogue for your business.

  • List all data sources
In our SME survey 2019, SMEs outlined the types of data they recognise and are using to improve their business. You can view the full report here.
  • Document the primary purpose of the database (eg customer management, financial transactions)
  • Identify who is accountable for the data sources within the business (eg business owner)
  • Identify who is responsible for managing the data sources within the business (eg technology team)
  • Describe the data source type
  • Document the data source location
  • Document the data source security (eg access controls) 
  • Show the data size
  • Show the data type
  • Document the data source start date – see an example of this below.

CONGRATULATIONS – you now have a list of all of your data sources in one place so you know exactly what data types you have available to use within your business. But what’s within these data sources?

2. DATA DICTIONARY

Do you have a list of all your data fields in one place? You should.

Now you have a data catalogue, you can describe the data within these data sources. For each data source…

  • List all data fields within the data source
  • Identify the unique identifier in each data source (ie the field that is never duplicated and can be used to identify an individual record)
  • Describe the expected content in each data field (ie a description)
  • Define the expected format of the data in each data field (eg date, number, currency)
  • Define the expected range of data in each data field (eg min/max)

Here’s an example…

CONGRATULATIONS – you now have a list of all the data fields within all of your data sources, all in one place, so you know exactly what types of data you have available to use within your business. But how do they all connect together?

3. DATA MAP

Can you see how all your data sources connect to each other? You should.

Next, you want to know how your data sources connect together, or if they don’t.  The next step is to create a data map showing the data connections and the use of unique identifiers.

CONGRATULATIONS – you now understand how all of your data sources connect together and which unique identifiers are used within your business. But how good is the data?

4. DATA HEALTHCHECK

Do you have a report showing how good your data is? You should.

Now you’ve got a data catalogue, data dictionary and a data map, you need to understand how good your data is. Let’s do a HealthCheck for all of your data sources and data fields. We use a five-point process covering:

By running this process for all of your data sources, you’ll have a clear idea of:

  1. What data is complete enough that you can use it for data analysis and reporting work
  2. What data is incomplete and needs more work to complete, cleanse or sort it into something valuable for your business – this could involve some smart AI-driven data work or it could involve manual data collection

CONGRATULATIONS – you now understand how valuable your data is and where your gaps are. But is your data compliant?

5. DATA PROTECTION IMPACT ASSESSMENT

Do you have a report showing how data compliant your business is? You should.

Think about GDPR:

CONGRATULATIONS – you now understand the full scale, value & risks of your data. So how are you going to start using it?


Many businesses spend more on storing data than they do on deriving value from this data. Yet, most businesses have significant opportunities to monetise their data in compliant and customer-friendly ways. Now your Christmas wishes have come true, your three new year data resolutions are to:

  1. Use data to add more value to your customers
  2. Use data to make your processes slicker
  3. Use data to make more money for your business

A very merry Christmas to you from the Data3 team.

Get in touch by emailing hello@data-cubed.co.uk or calling 0117 25 10 100 to discuss your Christmas data wish-list and find out how we can help you explore your data opportunities.