9 Essential Steps For Creating A Data Management Plan

Data has become central to modern businesses efforts to improve their performance. They are engaging data management consulting companies for devising an appropriate strategy for handling their information assets. Experts who have spent considerable time providing data management services to corporations located in different industries are of the opinion that an effective program can be created only if an extensive data management plan is mapped first. They suggest that companies, as well as data management consultants, follow a stepwise procedure for creating a plan. Following are the steps that can be used to create a roadmap for building a successful information management program:

1. Identify The Objectives Of The Project

The first step is to identify the objectives that the organization wants to achieve through the program. Companies have different motives behind implementing the data management strategy. Some want to improve their supply chain management while others hope to expand their customer base in a particular location. The aim of the project will help finalize the most appropriate approach that the organization must take. It will also help in easily structuring the plan and charting the flow of data assets between various stakeholders.

2. Identify The Necessary Data

Once the objectives of the program have been identified, it will become easy to finalize the necessary information elements that are needed by the enterprise. It is important to know the volume of each data element which will be accessed by the organization as only then its infrastructural needs can be assessed. Identifying the different types of data as well as the sources from which they will be gathered must be done in this phase. Another important point to be considered is the format in which this information will be available. Technology changes very quickly and a format which is relevant today may become redundant in the future. Choosing formats that are expected to be accessible for a long time makes sense.

3. Decide The Manner Of Database Organization

The next logical step for creating a data management plan is to define the way data will be organized. Small data tables will not require large systems but voluminous data sets will need robust solutions. Moreover, data keeps evolving and the solutions needed for storing it will also have to be modified accordingly. Initially, the focus must be only on the known elements and a data organization plan be created for them. Software and analytics tools which will be needed for storing, transforming, and evaluating the assets must also be identified at this stage.

4. Create A Plan For Documentation Of Data

Data will be incomprehensible for stakeholders if there is no documentation accompanying it. Metadata which includes the details about how and when a specific element was collected in addition to the source from which it was accessed. The reason for its inclusion in the database is also specified here. Based on the types, amount and the complexity of the information, identify an appropriate metadata schema. Moreover, select software solutions that can be helpful in creating and reading the metadata which will be used by stakeholders.

5. Finalize Down The Rules For Maintaining Data Quality

Experts working with reputable data management consulting firms feel that this is one of the most important phases of creating a management plan. An enterprise can hope to get valuable input for accurate decision-making only if the quality of information remains consistent throughout its life cycle. The rules for ensuring data quality must be finalized in this step. Define measures which eliminate possibilities of duplication of data and help in laying down standards which enable different users to treat a specific element in the same manner. Data management assessment which evaluates the maturity of a program with respect to the stated goals can also be included in this stage. This will help the organization to assess the efficiency of the initiative.

6. Devise A Strategy For Storage Of Information

One of the most important aspects of the whole program is the storage plan for information assets. Once all the data elements, processes, tools, and solutions which constitute the program have been identified, the team creating the roadmap must frame the strategy for creating a secure environment for the initiative. The hardware tools or cloud storage solutions that will be most suitable for the purpose along with the necessary safety infrastructure must be identified.

7. Document The Data Policy

All organizations must have a well-documented policy defining the rules according to which data will be managed, transformed, relayed, and analyzed. This will be helpful in removing the possibility of any kind of doubt while handling the assets. As mentioned earlier, information is a constantly evolving entity and therefore the policy must be modified accordingly and the updates conveyed to all users.

8. Select The Tools And Processes For Sharing Information

The technological tools and processes which will help users access data elements must be identified and listed. The process through which a piece of information will be relayed from one point to another must also be finalized in this step. All the tools and processes must be accompanied by clearly-worded guidelines about their usage and functioning.

9. Assign Roles And Responsibilities To Users

Finally, identify all the individuals or groups that will play a part in the program and assign specific roles and responsibilities to them. Clear demarcation of roles helps in eliminating any sort of confusion in defining ownership of assets as well as in their management.


Corporations, as well as data management consulting agencies, must follow this stepwise guide for creating a data management plan which will help them lay down a strong foundation for running the initiative.

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