Case Study: Standardize Data and Metrics

Client: Global Financial Services Firm

Function: HR Department

Project: Standardize Data and Metrics

The Data and Metrics Standardization Challenge

A financial services firm wanted to standardize their human resources data and metrics that were used throughout the company in various capacities, such as in reporting, that aided in decision making. Senior level leadership consistently received conflicting data from human resources staff and staff in the business units. Various reasons contributed to the inconsistent data. First, two systems were in place that store and update human capital data rendering reporting and metrics difficult and time consuming to produce. Second, data ownership and associated controls were not clearly defined. Lastly, differing terminologies and definitions used to describe data elements and fields facilitated inconsistent reporting practices where the “same” report run by different people result in different outcomes.

The Solution

The Human Resources department determined that the data and metrics coming from their department should be standardized in an effort to ensure the organization’s senior leadership received consistent data from Human Resources. The department wanted uniform definitions for human resources data elements, reliable data to use for trending, less reconciliation and confusion when comparing reports, and clearly defined ownership of and accountability for data.

The Intellilink team instituted a three step process to define high impact data elements, establish and enable a governance structure clearly defining the roles and responsibilities of data owners and stakeholders, and clean-up data and associated reports and systems affected by updated data definitions to ensure data consistency and accuracy. The Data and Metrics Standardization (DMS) project team consisted of various HR staff members that came together to accomplish the objectives within the three step process.

Identify and Define Data Elements

The Intellilink and DMS project team determined the highest priority data elements and placed them into three groups in order of highest priority to define. Based on the team’s experience in the organization, the first group of data elements were the most frequently misused or misunderstood. The Intellilink team facilitated weekly meetings to define data elements and add additional data elements identified to one of the three priority groups.

Establish Governance Structure

Identifying the data element owners allowed Intellilink to create a matrix that provided a clear picture of what department was responsible for submitting information to be entered into one of the human resources systems as a new entry or an update and displayed who was allowed to read or delete information.

Developing a customized application to support the resource tracking and planning process, Intellilink Solutions was able to provide a quickly deployed cost effective solution to our client’s business automation challenge by utilizing Intuit’s QuickBase. The application allowed the portfolio management group to control the vocabulary used in the activity and role selection process. All project names, support activities, roles and personnel information changes were controlled by the portfolio management group. The application, being web-based, supported multiple users from all across the country and provided a single database of resource tracking and planning information. This prevented multiple versions of resource planning spreadsheets from existing and being confused with one another. The portfolio management group could actively enforce the timely entry of resource planning information and report the monthly resource requirements for the project and application portfolio.

Clean-up Current Data

A complete Change Management program ensures buy-in with end users. Intellilink Solutions created scenario based training materials for each security role based on each roles’ responsibilities. “What is in it for me?” sessions created marketing points for “selling” the new process and application to the end users. End users received training by live classroom or web-ex training seminars. In order to ensure compliance, short refresher courses were created to assist the end users with their monthly updates of the resource information.

Throughout the project, the Intellilink team kept the Sign-off Committee consisting of HR senior leadership apprised of progress and draft data definitions. The Sign-off Committee ultimately approved all data element definitions developed by the DMS project team.