Governed Self-Service Analytics: Content Management (9/10)

When executives get reports from IT-driven BI system, they trust the numbers. But if the reports are from spreadsheet, which can change anytime, they lower the trust level. If same spreadsheet is used to create Tableau visualization and be shared to executives for decision-making, does the trust level get increased? Can important business decisions be made based on the Tableau reports?

I am not against Tableau or visualization at all. I am a super Tableau fan. I love Tableau’s mission to help people to see and understand their data better. On the other side, as we all know that any dashboard is only as good as its data. How to provide trustworthy contents to end consumers? How to avoid the situation that some numbers are put into10K report while team is still baking the data definition?

The answer is to create a framework of content trust level indicator for end consumers. We do not want to slow down any innovation or discovery by self-service business analysts who still create their own analytics and publish workbooks. After dashboard is published, IT tracks the usages, identifies most valuable contents per defined criteria, certifies the data & contents so end consumers can use the certified reports the same way as reports from IT-driven BI. See the diagram below for overall flow:


When you have a data to explore or you have a new business question to answer, hopefully you have report catalog to search if similar report is available to leverage. If yes, you do not have to develop it anymore although you may need to request an access to the report if you do not have access to it. If the visualization is not exactly what you are looking for but data attributes are there, you can always modify it to create your own version of visualization.

If there is no existing report available, you can also search published data source catalog to see if there is available published data source for you to leverage. If yes, you can create new workbooks by leveraging existing published data connections.

You may still need to bring your own data for your discovery. The early stage of discovery and analysis goes multi-iteration. Initial user feedback helps to reduce the overall time to market for your dashboards. At some point of time when your dashboard is good enough and is moved to production folder to share with a lot of more users, it will fall into track, identify and certify cycle.

Content cycle

What to track? Different organizations will have different answers. Here are examples:

  • Data sources with high hits
  • Reports accessed most frequently
  • Most active users
  • Least used reports for retirement

How to identify the most critical reports?

  • Prioritize based on usage (# of users, use cases, purpose, x-functional, benefits)
  • Prioritize based on data source and contents (data exist in certified env, etc)
  • Prioritize based on users. If CEO uses the report, it must be critical one for the organization

How to certify the critical reports? It is an on-going process:

  • Incrementally add self-service data to source of truth so data governance process can cover the new data sets (data definitions, data stewardship, data quality monitoring, etc)
  • Recreating dashboards (if needed) for better performance, add-on functionality, etc
  • Label the report with report trustworthy indicator

The intent of tracking, identifying and certifying cycle is to certify the most valuable reports in your organization. The output of the process is the report trustworthy indicator that helps end consumers to understand the level of trustworthy of data and reports.

End information consumers continue to use your visualizations that would be replaced with certified reports steps by steps, which is an on-going process. The certified reports will have trustworthy indicators on them.

What is the report trustworthy indicator? You can design multi level of trustworthy indicators. For example:

  • SOX certified:
    • Data Source Certified
    • Report Certified
    • Release Process Controlled
    • Key Controls Documented
    • Periodic Reviews
  • Certified reports:
    • Data Source Certified
    • Report Certified
    • Follow IT Standard Release Process
  • Certified data only
    • Data Source Partially Certified
    • Business Self-Service Releases
    • Follow Tableau Release Best Practices
  • Ad-Hoc
    • Business Self-Service Releases
    • Follow Tableau Release Best Practices

Content gov
As summary, content management helps to reduce the duplications of contents and data sources, and provide end information consumers with trustworthy level of the reports so proper decisions can be made based on the reports and data. The content management process outline above shows how to create the enterprise governance without slowing down innovations.

Please read next blog about governance mature level.

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