Smart data strategy begins with recognizing that managing the enterprise is all about the data. The enterprise is most likely an existing organization, although it can be a new one. It can be a government entity or commercial enterprise. It can be an organizational element of a larger enterprise, and it can be at the pinnacle. It is about the business of producing outcomes that the enterprise must achieve to be successful for constituents, customers, and stakeholders.

Commercial enterprises must be superior at what they do to stay in business: witness the commercial banks and U.S. automakers that failed at this test. Government enterprises must also be superior at delivering priority services to stay in business or else they become descoped, eliminated, or replaced. In the aggregate, failing government enterprise can result in societal breakdown. The stakes are high.

Attributes define the performance characteristics of the outcomes in measurable terms such that users and managers can gauge their success. It is imperative to have visibility about performance such that managers and stakeholders have predictive insight about alignment with plans and intended trends and targets.

Outcomes and attributes, like standards and measures, are defined and described as data. Under our approach, the process in doing this is deliberate and precise. Obviously, when new leadership assumes responsibility, they must scope, scale, and prioritize the effort based ...

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