Showing posts from March, 2021

Why framing “data” as an asset or liability is dangerous

If there is one thing that can change finance’s power and dominance as a decision-making tool, it is the rest of the data . According to Google (2020), 3% of company data is finance data when considered part of an entire company’s data lake. McKinsey reports that 90% of company decisions are based on finance data alone, the same 3% of data.   If you are in accounting, audit or finance shoes, how would you play the game to retain control when something more powerful comes on the scene?  You ensure that data is within your domain, you bring out the big guns and declare that data is just another asset or liability, and its rightful position is on the balance sheet.  We get to value it as part of the business. If we reflect on it, finance has been shoring up its position for a while.  HR, tech, processes, methods, branding, IP, legal, and culture have become subservient and controlled by finance. In the finance control game, we are all just an asset or liability and set a budget!  In the

#lockdown one year in, and I now question. What is a Better Normal?

I have written my fair amount over lockdown, but a core tenant of my hope was to leave the old normal behind, not wanting a new normal but a better normal.  The old normal (pre-#covid19) was as exhausting as I felt like a dog whose sole objective was to chase its own tail.   I perceived that a new normal (post-lockdown) would be straight back to doing the same.  My hope was for a  “better normal” where I got to change/ pick a new objective.  Suppose I unpack old and new normal with a time lens on both ideas.  What am I really (really honestly) doing differently hour by hour, day by day, week by week, month by month and year by year, today compared to the old normal.  My new brighter, shinny, hope-filled, better normal looks remarkable like the old when viewed by the lens of time.  Meetings, calls, reading, writing, communicating and thinking. Less travel and walking has been replaced with more allocation to the other activities, but I have lost the time I used to throw away, the time

Is there a requirement for a “Data Attestation” in a Board paper?

This article is about how to ensure Directors gain assurance about “data” that is supporting the recommendations in a Board paper. I have read, written and presented my fair share of Board and Investment Committee papers over the past 25 years. As Directors, we are collectively accountable and responsible for the decisions we take. I can now observe a skills gap regarding “data”, with many board members assuming and trusting the data that forms the basis on which they are asked to approve. There are good processes, methods and procedures for ensuring that any Board papers presented are factual. However, decisions using big-data and their associated analysis tools, including ML and AI, which drives automation, is new and requires different expertise at a higher level of detail.  Challenging data is different from finding it hard to question in detail any C-suite on their specific expertise and, more generally, the general counsel, CFO and CTO.  The CDO/ CIO axis bridges the value line

Updating our board papers for Data Attestation

I have written and read my fair share of board and investment papers over the past 25 years.  This post is not to add to the abundance of excellent work on how to write a better board/ investment paper or what the best structure is - it would annoy you and waste my time.  A classic “board paper” will likely have the following headings: Introduction, Background, Rationale, Structure/ Operations, Illustrative Financials & Scenarios, Competition, Risks and Legal. Case by case there are always minor adjustments. Finally, there will be some form of Recommendation inviting the board to note key facts and approve the request.  I believe it is time for the Chair or CEO, with the support of their senior data lead (#CDO) to ask that each board paper has a new section heading called   “ Data Attestation. ”  Some will favour this as an addition to the main flow, some as a new part of legal, others as an appendix; how and where matters little compared to its intent. The intention of this new

Trust is not a thing or a destination, but an outcome from a transformation

Trust is not a thing or a destination but an outcome of a transition. I have written over 214 articles on “trust” over the past 12 years.   I have read endless books and done countless presentations on the topic of TRUST. I have always searched for the relationships between trust and strategy, value, consent, privacy, identity, data and risk.   The well-reasoned articles include Imaging a Digital Strategy starting from TRUST , Trust is not a destination! , How can Brands restore user trust?   A segmentation model based on trust , The relationship between Trust, Risk and Privacy .  This article brings together some of the thinking already explored in previous articles but as the new drawing below.   It started as I was playing with Laplace to Fourier and back.  These are the transformations between time and frequency.  Whilst time and frequency are related, to move between the domains in maths requires some fancy work.  On either side of the status is TIME and FREQUENCY, and between th

ESG and the elephants in the room

There are more elephants in the room than you imagined!   When we unpack climate and ESG, it is too big, so we don’t know what to do.  However, this post unpacks the “too big” so that we can individually identify the one thing we can all do that will make a difference.  The 1st elephant in the room Never teach an elephant to sing; it wastes your time and annoys the elephant. This elephant represents the big issues: politics, geopolitics, policy, human behaviours, policing, crime, cyber-attacks, climate change, poverty, tax, ESG, economics, capitalism, growth, sustainability, vaccines, circular economy, transparency and equality as examples.  They are all so big and complex that we cannot get our heads around them.  No one person owns the problem.  We ignore those who go on about them often by putting them into the category of philosophies as I don’t understand or know what I can do, believing that my individual actions will make no difference.    The 2nd elephant in the room The blind