One of Australia’s largest water utilities – in charge of managing catchments, supplying affordable and high-quality townwater, recycling and treating drinking water, and managing waterways and drainage systems – needed an efficient and reliable approach to storing and accessing their data across the whole organisation.
This required building out a data framework from all their different systems which were lying in siloes. They needed a solution that would streamline and unify their data into a single view so they could obtain accurate data reports and build real-time analytics.
The company engaged Optivia’s services to devise an effective data strategy from a business analyst perspective. This involved liaising with both business and technical stakeholders to determine the best solution for providing rapid access and greater visibility to their data.
The company’s disorganised, piecemeal data landscape presented an immediate challenge to accessibility and reliable reporting. The organisation also had previously attempted to implement a Unified Data Store (UDS) but the framework was poorly governed and was therefore unsuccessful. So, on the back of the failed initiative, one of the biggest challenges was obtaining stakeholder buy-in for a new UDS solution and managing change.
There were also difficulties associated with siloed data living across many different systems and company channels. This hindered visibility, efficient accessibility, and the accuracy of their critical business data.
“The organisation had about 10 to 12 different source systems, all lying in silos. The data couldn’t effectively coexist in this way as there was no standardisation across the different systems and the business systems weren’t communicating well with the technical systems. So one of the main problems for users was that they weren’t able to build reports or data analytics if the data was from two or more systems,” says Praneeth Pancheti, Optivia’s Business Analyst Practice Lead who spearheaded the project.
“After conducting an initial audit of the company’s pre-project state, the key areas for improvements were accessibility and reliable reporting. This required a lot of change management, stakeholder management and aligning the different business requirements to an overall data enterprise strategy to ensure the success of a new UDS transformation project.”
Optivia was engaged to optimise and streamline the organisation’s data framework and further develop their business data maturity. The team was to analyse and propose a practical, centralised UDS that could contribute to greater visibility, more agile accessibility, increase the reliability of their reporting, and help them achieve their business KPIs.
The UDS implementation enabled a more holistic understanding of business data, providing one single view and source of truth across the organisation. From vendor shortlisting of an appropriate, project-specific implementation partner, to consulting team members when compiling a list of use cases, to quantifying the demonstrable benefits of a UDS solution, Optivia’s contextual expertise helped ensure maximum output from the implemented solution.
“Our team was able to help formulate streamlined business rules and uses cases that were applicable to multiple business departments, and in doing so, build out a standardised way of ingesting data for the whole organisation. This meant that each user could spend more time on actually using the data and gaining actionable insights from it, rather than wasting their time on finding it,” says Praneeth.
“What’s more, Optivia’s equally sound business and technical expertise coupled with our commitment to understanding the organisation’s specific requirements was instrumental in finding the best possible solution for the organisation that typically deals with great volumes of data for many different uses.”
Optivia delivered tenfold on setting up the groundwork and a way forward for the proposed implementation of a UDS product which would provide a unified, single view for their data. This enabled efficient access, more agile reporting capabilities, greater capacity to build analytics and an overall better data governance framework for the organisation.
Through the centralisation of information that their UDS can afford, the company also operates through a more sophisticated data ownership model, providing the foundations for a simple, repeatable approach to integrating and housing data.
“The solution implemented can enable an improved data governance posture for security purposes as well by categorising the data into sensitivity levels and building out a hierarchy of business rules for those categories. This means that only the right people can get access to the right data at the right time, the,” says Praneeth.
“I believe we can attribute the success of the whole operation to our hands-on experience of the business and the knowledge of the project context that was grounded in specific operational understanding. We always had someone following up on the business requirements and being the stand-in change enabler to effectively strengthen their data processes. It came down to expert technical understanding and a workable business approach.”