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The second circle of Information Management: Process model based Information Requirements – live chat with Matthew West and Al Cook


Anne GUINARD
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Join us here on this page on Thursday, 15 July 2021 from 10:00 to 10:30 for a live Q&A chat session as Matthew West, IMF Technical Team Lead, National Digital Twin Programme (NDTp) and Al Cook, technical expert in data integration and information security, NDTp take your questions on the key elements of the Information Management Framework and the proposed approach to define information requirements that support effective decision-making. 

In the meantime, access the full paper, read Matthew’s blog and watch Matthew and Al’s video to gain more insight into the “7 circles of Information Management” and in particular, the second circle in the 7 circles diagram: Process Model based Information Requirements. 

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  • Anne GUINARD changed the title to The second circle of Information Management: Process model based Information Requirements – live chat with Matthew West and Al Cook

Welcome to the start of today’s live Q&A chat with NDTp’s Matthew West and Al Cook dedicated to the Information Management Framework and in particular, the identification of Information Requirements. A big thank you to Matthew and Al for hosting the event.

Matthew and Al are waiting to take your thoughts and questions. Join the conversation . . .

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Would it be possible for you to explain how the proposed approach to capture information requirements fit with other components of the Information Management Framework (in particular, the Foundation Data Model and the Reference Data Library…)?
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Hello @Al_and @Matthew West, further to the presentation at the Gemini call on the 06/07, a question was asked about how the proposed approach to identify information requirements fits with existing approaches / standards. It would be great to hear your thoughts on this.

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Information Requirements are clearly key to unlocking value (of all kinds)in the lifecycle of assets. @Al_ and @Matthew West I think the spatiotemporal approach in the space time diagram is a great idea. 

How do you think we can trace value but specifically for this question the return on investment from Information Requirements development? How important do you think it is to do that?

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On 15/07/2021 at 10:02, Catherine Condie said:
Would it be possible for you to explain how the proposed approach to capture information requirements fit with other components of the Information Management Framework (in particular, the Foundation Data Model and the Reference Data Library…)?

Hi Catherine, Yes, the Information Management Framework is being created to allow organisations to manage their, and other's, data so that it is fit for its intended purpose (to support decisions).  However, it can't do the job of knowing what an organisation's information requirements are.  The activity modelling approach allows organisations to work out what their information requirements are in a way that can map directly to the parts of the IMF.  The Activity modelling work to identify the information required to support decisions is the first part of a 4-step process to ensure that the data created and managed is consistent with the FDM, RDL and the interfaces for integrated exchanges of data that the IMF provides.

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On 15/07/2021 at 10:02, Catherine Condie said:
Would it be possible for you to explain how the proposed approach to capture information requirements fit with other components of the Information Management Framework (in particular, the Foundation Data Model and the Reference Data Library…)?

The requirements that you identify are input to the ontological analysis process (the thin slice process) that we will be using to extend the Foundation Data Model and Reference Data Library.

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On 15/07/2021 at 10:07, HenryFT said:

Information Requirements are clearly key to unlocking value (of all kinds)in the lifecycle of assets. @Al_ and @Matthew West I think the spatiotemporal approach in the space time diagram is a great idea. 

How do you think we can trace value but specifically for this question the return on investment from Information Requirements development? How important do you think it is to do that?

Hi Henry, Recognising that there is value in having data at the right quality is important.  Good quality management practices should be applied, including identifying key performance indicators on how well the information management practices are performing (Plan, Do, Check, Act cycle).  It can be very hard to measure the value of data that is not at the right quality, although it is possible to look at issues resulting from it (this can provide some motivation for addressing data quality in the first place).  However, once you know what your requirements are, and what it takes to meet them, it is also good practice to look at what improvements are expected as a result of doing this and determine metrics.  Continuous improvement is then built in to the information management lifecycle and matched to the lifecycle of the assets that require the information to be managed well.

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On 15/07/2021 at 10:07, HenryFT said:

Information Requirements are clearly key to unlocking value (of all kinds)in the lifecycle of assets. @Al_ and @Matthew West I think the spatiotemporal approach in the space time diagram is a great idea. 

How do you think we can trace value but specifically for this question the return on investment from Information Requirements development? How important do you think it is to do that?

@HenryFT Yes, having information you do not need is a cost without benefit, and not having information you do need means a higher risk of mistakes or exposure to legal consequences from not having the information.

When you look at the benefits  these start with the converse of the costs of poor quality information.

1.       You will be able to automate deterministic processes (the boring ones) because relevant information is held as data.

2.       You will just be able to use the information provided to you, rather than having to fix it up, condition, or wrangle the data before you can use it.

3.       The risk of making mistakes will be reduced because you had the information you needed to take the right decision when you needed it.

4.       In addition to the elimination of negatives, which all go straight to the bottom line by improving productivity, there are some purely positive benefits of good information management (see Figure 2).

5.       You will have greater agility because rather than responding to changes in circumstances, you will be able to anticipate them and pivot to take advantage of them rather than being overwhelmed by them.

6.       You will have better insights into your operations and assets and this will enable innovation that comes from being able to spot new opportunities.

7.       You have the confidence that comes from knowing you are in good shape, rather than hoping you are.

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Hi @Al_ and @Matthew West
I have a question which was asked during your presentation on the Gemini Call last week @Al_

Could different process modelling tools be used at different levels of aggregation? e.g. a space-time macro diagram and a BPMN to expand sub-processes?

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On 15/07/2021 at 10:02, Anne GUINARD said:

Hello @Al_and @Matthew West, further to the presentation at the Gemini call on the 06/07, a question was asked about how the proposed approach to identify information requirements fits with existing approaches / standards. It would be great to hear your thoughts on this.

Hi Anne, I remember seeing that question.  It is interesting to me that quite a bit of what we are doing is not (yet) covered by existing standards.  However, we do have some strong standards to build from or complement.  Examples include the ISO 8000 Data Quality series, the ISO 9000 series on quality management systems and ISO 15926 series that @Matthew West was involved with.  We do need to address the areas that are new as a result of our work to enable large (national) scale, integrated data interactions between information systems.  The Activity based information requirements and the 4-step methodology are an example of work that isn't yet available as a standard.  Much of what is developed within the IMF will also be worth considering for standardisation.  Our aim is to draw upon standards where we can and develop new ones where there is a gap to be filled.

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On 15/07/2021 at 10:02, Anne GUINARD said:

Hello @Al_and @Matthew West, further to the presentation at the Gemini call on the 06/07, a question was asked about how the proposed approach to identify information requirements fits with existing approaches / standards. It would be great to hear your thoughts on this.

Hi @Anne GUINARD I am not aware of any existing standards to identify information requirements systematically (but there are lots of standards, so I might have missed one). Current practice is generally to ask users what their information requirements are. This can be hit and miss because users will tend to focus on what is an issue at the moment, and perhaps forget what works well and does not cause a problem. This is good for the consultant because if information requirements are missed, then it is the users fault for not telling the consultant what they were.

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Hello @Al_, to continue the discussion on tools further to @Helena's post … I am aware that you have begun to survey the landscape of existing tools to see if some of them may be helpful to determine information requirements … Would you like to share some of your findings?

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Thanks both, I think that's exactly right, tracing the lifecycle of an information requirement through this process gives it a clear rationale. I think it would be interesting to see the information management landscape within an organisation. To your point 1 and 2 @Matthew West where these information flows might be consistent, one off or variable. I think this is about control, where a client has a strong asset base they will certainly be able to define these processes and even understand their organisation better as a result.

On 15/07/2021 at 10:19, Matthew West said:

@HenryFT Yes, having information you do not need is a cost without benefit, and not having information you do need means a higher risk of mistakes or exposure to legal consequences from not having the information.

When you look at the benefits  these start with the converse of the costs of poor quality information.

1.       You will be able to automate deterministic processes (the boring ones) because relevant information is held as data.

2.       You will just be able to use the information provided to you, rather than having to fix it up, condition, or wrangle the data before you can use it.

3.       The risk of making mistakes will be reduced because you had the information you needed to take the right decision when you needed it.

4.       In addition to the elimination of negatives, which all go straight to the bottom line by improving productivity, there are some purely positive benefits of good information management (see Figure 2).

5.       You will have greater agility because rather than responding to changes in circumstances, you will be able to anticipate them and pivot to take advantage of them rather than being overwhelmed by them.

6.       You will have better insights into your operations and assets and this will enable innovation that comes from being able to spot new opportunities.

7.       You have the confidence that comes from knowing you are in good shape, rather than hoping you are.

Yes I think there's a key quality and quantity overlap here. The greater the quantity of information the harder it's going to be to retain high quality information so asking those sorts of questions makes a lot of sense.

On 15/07/2021 at 10:16, Al_ said:

Hi Henry, Recognising that there is value in having data at the right quality is important.  Good quality management practices should be applied, including identifying key performance indicators on how well the information management practices are performing (Plan, Do, Check, Act cycle).  It can be very hard to measure the value of data that is not at the right quality, although it is possible to look at issues resulting from it (this can provide some motivation for addressing data quality in the first place).  However, once you know what your requirements are, and what it takes to meet them, it is also good practice to look at what improvements are expected as a result of doing this and determine metrics.  Continuous improvement is then built in to the information management lifecycle and matched to the lifecycle of the assets that require the information to be managed well.

 

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On 15/07/2021 at 10:20, Helena said:

Hi @Al_ and @Matthew West
I have a question which was asked during your presentation on the Gemini Call last week @Al_

Could different process modelling tools be used at different levels of aggregation? e.g. a space-time macro diagram and a BPMN to expand sub-processes?

Hi @Anne GUINARD, Yes, in a sense.  The activity modelling is used to identify decisions that require information relating to material (actual) participants in those activities.  If done rigorously there should be no need for any other information (I'll add that risk management is also an activity and so you can identify information that you may need given some circumstances that there may be uncertainty about).  Once done it is then straightforward to map to notations like BPMN (that, itself, may involve aggregation).  BPNM is aimed at process execution semantics for business processes and they are an important part of an activity lifecycle but can't be used to derive a spatiotemporal view without doing a s-t analysis.

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Many thanks to @Matthew Westand @Al_ and everybody on this chat for all your comments and questions.

We are now coming to the end of our live discussion, but we will keep this space open in case you have further thoughts or questions and will continue to monitor the discussion.

Thank you all very much again!

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On 15/07/2021 at 10:25, Matthew West said:

Hi @Anne GUINARD I am not aware of any existing standards to identify information requirements systematically (but there are lots of standards, so I might have missed one). Current practice is generally to ask users what their information requirements are. This can be hit and miss because users will tend to focus on what is an issue at the moment, and perhaps forget what works well and does not cause a problem. This is good for the consultant because if information requirements are missed, then it is the users fault for not telling the consultant what they were.

We have done quite a bit of work within the IMF team to take stock of existing standards.  Some of this has been published (e.g. the TLO survey) and it is ongoing.  If we had come across an existing standard that was systematic to identify information requirements we'd have taken a close look at it but I haven't seen any.

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