Developing a Data Transformation Framework

May 26, 2022 by No Comments | Category Data, Digital Scotland

Blog by Shona Nicol, Team leader for Data Standards, Technical Data Policy team.

The public sector have always held enormous quantities of data, but now we need to make sure we use it properly – optimising its value as a strategic resource.

In Scotland, Public Sector organisations have been creating, using and managing data for many years, and the practices around this have sometimes developed organically meaning there may be a lack of consistency when approaching things like data management, skills and standards.

There are many challenges facing organisations where data could help, but it can be difficult to introduce new thinking and practices into organisations. Particularly when there is limited understand of the value that good data can offer, and how it can transform a whole organisation, its outcomes and future thinking.

The Scottish Government is developing a new approach, the Data Transformation Framework, which will help organisations to achieve data improvements and realise more of their data’s potential and its value across the Scottish Public Sector.

Data transformation is the journey towards improved data capability and to becoming a data fluent organisation. The Data Transformation Framework (DTF) is being developed to support organisations in understanding not only where they are currently, in terms of data maturity, but how they can improve, realising more value from their data – setting out what ‘good data’ looks like.

At the strategic level the DTF will deliver a high level vision for the Scottish Public Sector, and will help organisations to develop their actions for data improvement, aligning with the Framework’s best practice approaches. Alongside the vision, to help with aligning data thinking across the sector, the DTF will also set out foundational practises – data practices that are the foundations for organisations working with data more productively (such as leadership, data strategy, governance and discovery). These will be guides for those that are beginning their data transformation journey, and will also be a useful tool to help more mature organisations reflect on their next steps.

At the organisational level, the DTF has a number of elements that will support organisations to improve their data capability, these are: a diagnosis area, a knowledge base (pointing to existing or co-designed polices, resources, case studies, training) and finally the maturity pathways to support the improvement process, customised based on personas. At the heart of it is collaboration and promotion of good practice.

DTF elements to support organisations

DTF elements to support organisations

The DTF will act as a scaffolding, providing support and breaking down the concept of ‘good data’ into pillars to aid organisations in their data transformation process. To get the most from the Framework, organisations are encouraged to investigate its’ subject pillars, and to use the maturity pathways to support improvement plans and projects.
There is already a lot of good data practice in the Public Sector, but it is not always easy to find or re-use and the Framework aims to bring together good practice around each of the pillars (as part of the knowledge base), encouraging the data community to collaborate together to find solutions to shared challenges.

Currently, Scottish Government are running data maturity cohorts, which focus on helping organisations to understand their data needs by taking a data maturity assessment, reviewing the findings alongside their own research, and developing an action plan or strategy which is outcomes based.

The first cohort has just completed and the findings from this will help to understand the support and guidance organisations will need to carry out a data maturity journey, one which they can then repeat and scale in their organisation. The cohort has worked individually and together during the project, sharing their experiences and learnings of the data assessment process as well as helping to map initial maturity pathways and the resources for the Framework.

A second cohort is planned for Autumn 2022 If you are in the public sector and would like more information about becoming a participant in the next cohort, please email:

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