Keeping track of the mountains of data within an organization is hard. With more information pouring in every day, it’s nearly impossible to keep up. Sometimes it does kind of feel like you’re stranded in a hostile, uncharted territory.
While you don’t actually have to contend with rugged terrain, freezing cold and hungry bears, the challenges you face are all too real. This is especially true when it’s time to make changes – like converting a database or implementing new software. At times like these, you don’t want surprises. You know where you want to go and you want to get there quickly while avoiding as many hazards as possible.
The tools in the Agile Compass software suite along with our Guided Expedition Services are designed to help you find your way in the data wilderness and guide you to your data destination. Let’s get into a little of how things work . . .
The way it is:
It’s not just the staggering amount of data to deal with, there are other factors involved that make things difficult.
For one, data is stored in multiple formats – like databases, spreadsheets and text files. Of course, these multiply over time.
All this data is usually found in a number of locations and on multiple devices. Not only does everything expand across the network on servers, desktops and laptops but it’s now also likely to be in the cloud, literally spread around the world.
All these problems continue to grow – and there’s no end in sight.
But the biggest problem of all may be that data starts to disappear.
No, it’s not deleted or lost; it’s worse than that. This data still exists, but no one knows it’s out there. This can happen for many reasons, including the fact that the people who set things up are no longer with the organization. Over time, it’s inevitable that data goes “missing” and is unaccounted for.
The thing is, you don’t know what you don’t know.
And here is where most organizations are – struggling in a data wilderness.
The way it could be:
Agile Compass finds your data and creates a comprehensive “resource map” of what you have, where it is and how it all interacts.
Agile Compass surveys your data landscape, finding databases, spreadsheets, text files, video, audio, images . . . virtually any way that data can be stored. It reports back on location, device, metadata and more. You now know what you have, organized in a way that’s easy to understand.
Next, Agile Compass analyzes how your data interacts. It’ll show you how a database is connected to a user application and how certain spreadsheets are connected to other spreadsheets or databases. Now, there are no more surprises – like when a user application breaks because you upgraded a database that’s connected to another database you didn’t know existed.
Plus, Agile Compass digs into the details of what each data cache contains. Knowing this helps in many ways – like making sure there aren’t two databases tracking the same information.
You are now better prepared to manage your data landscape and tackle your next data project.
The DATA Exploration Process
Exploring your data can be challenging and sometimes it’s hard to know where to go or even how to get started. No worries, we know the territory and we’re here to help navigate. Our Guided Expedition Services team will help you get set up and use Agile Compass. As results are generated, we’ll provide experienced analysis and offer recommendations on how best to proceed. As we work together to map your data landscape, we’ll help you best utilize your newfound knowledge.
Let’s take a closer look at the process . . .
1. Initial Exploration
The first step is a no-cost initial meeting. This “get acquainted” session is a great way to get a feel for your current data landscape and begin to uncover areas of potential improvement. We’ll go over common data challenges and how certain areas may apply to your particular situation.
While this typically doesn’t take a great deal of time, we’ll cover a lot of ground and leave you with some exciting ideas to think about. This will be very informative and you’ll come away with increased knowledge on now to optimize data management. Together, we’ll likely uncover areas where you can take action right away. We’ll also show you the Agile Compass software suite so you can get a good idea of the ease of use, power and flexibility it offers.
If it looks like Agile Compass can help in your efforts, we’ll next prepare a proposal for you to consider. Our goal is to provide you with useful information and a clear path forward in your data exploration.
The Initial Exploration will enable you to:
2. Guided Exploration
Moving forward, Agile Compass will be installed in your organization. We do this in a unique way which typically doesn’t require you to invest in additional hardware or upgrades. It won’t require much time on your part and is normally very quick and easy.
It’s now time to plan our first data expedition. We call this “Provisioning” and it’s where we work with you to determine the optimal way to get started in your particular situation. We’ll set parameters and coordinates in Agile Compass to pinpoint where we’re going. Properly equipped, we’re now ready to perform a sort of advance reconnaissance to get a better feel for where things are.
Scout is the part of Agile Compass where we get an initial “30,000 foot” overview of your data landscape. We’ll learn what types of data you have and how much is out there. We’ll now have a direction to head and are ready for the next step, Discovery.
The Discovery tool is used to take a closer look at various file types, peer deeper into specific locations and search for specified keywords. The results of our Discovery efforts can be quite illuminating and will provide a comprehensive data resource map of your organization. Discovery may also uncover certain areas that need further attention. If so, we’ll next use the Survey tool.
Survey enables a deeper dive into specific areas which were identified during the Discovery process. The Survey options are very powerful and enable a great deal of additional metadata to be obtained. This comprehensive fine-tuning adds to your data resource map and is very useful in defining further needs. Success in data consolidation, migration, upgrades, new software installation, and virtually any data-related project can be enhanced with this additional knowledge
Like any exploration, it’s common to come across unexpected things. In fact, this is why we’re using Agile Compass to begin with – to learn what we didn’t know. With this in mind, it’s likely that our journey will reveal new trails to follow and find more than we had anticipated. This may require additional Provisioning, revisions to our itinerary and more data treks. It’s all a part of expanding your understanding of your data landscape. Throughout the process, our experienced team will be there with you every step of the way to help determine the optimal path to take.
While each data exploration is unique, the following illustration is a typical example of how things unfold . . .
A Typical Data Exploration Workflow
3. Ongoing Exploration
We’ve now completed our initial data expedition efforts and have a good plan for what is needed. The extensive data resource mapping knowledge you now have can help in a number of different ways throughout your organization.
But your data exploration doesn’t end. After the initial Guided Expedition Services, you’ll want to continue to use Agile Compass to keep up with your ever-expanding information management needs. New projects will come along that demand you knowing where you stand in your data landscape. You can use the Scout, Discovery and Survey tools whenever you need to update your data resource map.
We’re available for more Guided Expedition Services if needed. Our ongoing services agreement provides support and expertise along the way and includes certain software enhancements as they become available. The Agile Compass suite is always growing and will continue to expand in capability. We’ve got a pretty exciting roadmap planned!