We can all agree geoscientific information management is important. Every day new sources of data are adding to the complexity of information available. Couple that with a large number of compliance requirements across multiple disciplines and managing data quickly becomes untenable without good systems in place. Being able to efficiently manage complexity can make a big difference in quality outcomes, especially when dealing with geoscientific information, such as geological data or environmental data.
Some of the challenges adding to the complexity of data management include:
What does best practice data management look like? How do you know if you’re winning?
Here are 10 indicators your data management practices are working.
Everyone has data they trust, but does everyone in your organisation trust the same data? If different stakeholders have their own version of data, or the same data is stored in multiple places, it’s hard to know what data, or version of the data, to trust. Good data management instils a widespread sense of trust.
Managing compliance is commonly a static, linear set of unconnected tasks and activities. If determining your compliance requires effort – manually collating, checking, double-checking, and correcting data – you’ll never be truly confident your environmental data is compliant. Alternatively, if the idea of an audit does not keep you awake at night, then you know you’re on the right track with compliance.
“Garbage in, garbage out” might be the oldest cliché in data management but it’s true. If your data is being validated at the point of capture, you’re on the right track. Preserving your original geological observations and measurements relies on your ability to validate your geological data as soon as possible – even while you’re still in the pit.
One of the challenges for geoscientific information management is data comes from so many different sources. Getting all your data consolidated in one place – and having common business rules to guide data entering your system – ensures the quality of your data by reducing the number of manual interventions required. Sharing your geological or environmental data across systems and being able to access your data from mobile, web and desktop are hallmarks of great data management.
The gold standard for geological data management is having a single source of truth everyone in your organisation can rely on. One benefit to having a central geological database is knowing you can apply data rules and validations from the point of capture to ensure your data maintains the highest integrity.
If governance reporting is a painstaking process, or you need to suspend your normal work activities for days, weeks or even months to produce reports, it’s safe to say you have room for improvement in how your environmental data is being managed. Having a history of recorded edits or a good audit trail is also beneficial in the event you need to revert to a previous version of your data.
Software developed internally brings the risk of technical debt, especially as technology infrastructure ages. Third-party vendor software can be just as risky for your mission-critical systems if the vendor decides to drop support. Using unsupported software solutions to manage your data is a warning sign you could be facing big problems in the near future, even if everything seems to be working fine.
Having a way to give different permissions for different users is a best-practice feature of data management. This removes the burden from your database managers of creating custom datasets. Key stakeholders should be able to access the data they need, when they need it, without affecting the integrity of your database.
Another reason for user permissions is to keep your database secure. You’ll want to be able to segment your data and apply protections to certain parts or segments of your database, if required. Another benefit is the ability to limit visibility to third parties, such as joint-venture partners, who may need to access certain projects in your software system for a short time.
Having a streamlined workflow from data collection through to sample submission to the lab makes a big difference to downstream mining processes. It also makes a huge difference to the amount of time geologists or field workers spend handling data. The more manual and non-integrated steps you have in the workflow, the more chance there is to inject errors into your data.
Manage your geological and environmental data well and you’ll have more time to work on projects and focus on your real work – and that’s probably not wrangling data. Find out more about acQuire’s geoscientific information management solutions for environmental and geological data.
Contact our team to discuss your information management requirements.