Running a data maturity assessment – project update

March 24, 2022 by No Comments | Category Data, Digital Scotland

Blog by Sally Kerr, Data Standards Project Manager, Data Division.

My name is Sally Kerr and I am a Project Manager in the Digital Directorate’s, Data Standards team. I have previously blogged about the start of the Data Maturity and Pathways project Scottish Government is running, working with a cohort of public sector organisations. The aim of the project is to help understand where organisations are with their data currently, and the outcomes they want to achieve, as well as areas for improvement that are identified through the assessment.

The project is very much about learning together what is needed to deliver successful data maturity journeys and how the Data Transformation Framework (DTF) can provide support. The project team have taken an agile approach to the project so that activities can be adapted or introduced as identified. Some changes have been small but important, such as a discussion about how personas would be described to help identify the types of participants taking part in the assessment, whilst others, agreeing on the approach to assessment analysis, are important strategically. This latter point means that organisations not only have their own assessment, but a consistent analysis across the cohort that can be used to evidence their decisions with senior leaders.

Another example would be the session held in January with three speakers talking about how they had approached developing their data strategies and the different stages these had reached. This was in direct response to the cohort asking for more insight into this topic. The speakers, from National Registers of Scotland, the Environment Agency and the City of Ghent, provided individual insights and informed the thinking of the cohort on directions they might take. A video of the session can be found via this link.

All the organisations have now completed their data maturity assessment and are analysing the findings of this work. Whilst this is still in the discovery phase it is interesting that there are already some clear areas highlighted for improvement including skills, tools and leadership. The organisations are carrying out different internal engagement activities to feed back their findings and to gather more evidence to inform their future planning.

Workshops have also been carried out to help organisations with the development of data action plans. A logic model approach has been taken which focuses on outcomes, as well as building understanding of the activities that involve both immediate teams and the wider stakeholder group.

Building buy-in to enable data transformation can be a significant challenge in organisations that are not yet data-driven. The logic model approach builds a strong foundation to understand who should be engaged with and participate in the delivery of a data action plan. Whilst the organisations are all at different stages, it is hoped that using this approach will help them develop good outcomes.

At every stage of this project to date there have been new discoveries – fresh approaches to challenges, insights that are important for the development of the DTF and key learnings that are going to feed into the future planning for this programme, with plans for the next cohort to take place in the early autumn.

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