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Steady state data flow mapping

This page describes steady state data flow mapping, why it might be useful for you and what it involves. 

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What is steady state data flow mapping? 

Steady state data flow mapping is a mechanism for implementing the operational Data Governance Framework (oDGF). It is a flexible mapping model that allows you to implement it in the way that works best for your organisation. 

Steady state data flow mapping also acts as a key enabler for a holistic approach to data governance. 
Operational data governance 

Why use steady state data flow mapping? 

Steady State data flow mapping helps you to make data governance relevant to the operational staff at your organisation 

A steady state data flow map also helps you to effectively communicate operational perspectives up to senior management and executive leadership using language that resonates with them. The map is easy to reconfigure to reflect new knowledge and to deliver business value in changing circumstances.
Steady state data flow mapping fosters a consideration of data related activities at your organisation that can positively influence its organisational strategy. This increases your organisation’s chance of implementing its organisational strategy smoothly and effectively. 

The time investment needed for you to produce an initial map is relatively low. Following the steps laid out below, you can usually plan and prepare a draft data flow map in 3 working days. When your planning is done you can draft a map through a workshop, typically within one working day. You can also split these activities up so that you do them over multiple half-days, depending on your needs. 

What does steady state data flow mapping involve?  

Steady state data flow mapping is a 4-step process: 

Planning and prep  

Clarify and agree the purpose of the mapping exercise. The map might be structured to:

  • Fill data knowledge gaps at your organisation 
  • Demonstrate the strategic value of your organisation’s data assets 
  • Improve processes that result in important outputs for your organisation 
  • Facilitate better collaboration between business units at your organisation 
  • Improve data practices and data maturity at your organisation 

Establish and agree relevant mapping parameters for your needs: 

  • Entities/assets you will map 
  • Extents for your map (scope, boundaries of the specific area you will map) 
  • Stakeholders you will involve 

Document collection and review: 

  • Identify, collect and review the relevant documents to inform mapping. This could include your organisation’s high-level strategic and low-level operational documents. 

Mapping workshop 

  • Involve all relevant stakeholders, based on the map entity and scope 
  • Include a facilitator that is not one of your stakeholders 
  • Set-up to begin constructing and dynamically altering your draft map. Make sure to organise the stationery you will need for the methods you plan to use. 

Follow-up editing 

Digitise your workshop map using a visualisation tool of your choice. Microsoft Visio works well for this. 

  • Circulate the digitised version for review among your stakeholders 
  • Use the feedback from your stakeholders to develop a final version of your map  

Implementation and maintenance 

  • Consider how to operationalise your finished map, so that it can integrate into existing workflow 
  • The map should be designed with operational staff in mind. It needs to be easy for them to adopt and to become part of their business-as-usual processes. 
  • Periodically review your map to ensure it reflects current conditions. Update as required. 

Additional information: 

This list provides resources that contain further information related to steady state data flow mapping and the oDGF

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Content last reviewed 10 May 2023.