Companies House has revealed it is undertaking an “enormous transformation” in its data strategy.
The changes are in response to the new Economic Crime and Corporate Transparency Bill going through Parliament. The new Bill will give Companies House new roles, powers, and responsibilities, said Tetyana Mykhaylyk, head of data and analytics at Companies House.
“Companies House will evolve from a passive recipient of the data to a more proactive gatekeeper of the data, and with new responsibility will come new power. It’s more power data sharing with other government departments, and power to question the data we receive. It’s a pivotal moment for the Companies House,” Mykhaylyk told attendees at this week’s Think Data for Government event in London.
“Our data should fit for purpose. If you think about the car, driving from A to B, and suddenly you need to cross the channel – you can’t use the car. It’s a completely different purpose. So, you need to think what and how you transform your car or buy a new one. Our data strategy, or the whole program about data transformation, [is] to make sure that data is fit for purpose.”
Mykhaylyk was in conversation with James Herbert, CEO at data-focused service provider, Pivotl. Herbert said that he welcomed the new strategy, and that it was a “good example of where data is really enabling a change in policy and quite an important national change.”
Ensuring strategy gains traction
Mykhaylyk went on to provide a glimpse into process behind making the new data strategy gain traction across the organisation.
“We invested a lot of time in processes and people. One of the main ideas was to bring people with us, because if you force people to do that, they will not do it. No one wants more governance,” she said.
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This included increasing its data Community of Practice from 25 to more than 150 people. “To give you an idea, the whole Companies House is around 1000 people, so we have 15 percent of our workforce as a member of our data Community of Practice…spread equally across the business. We recorded 65 presentations and cover all the data cycle development from how you collect data to pipelines. It’s absolutely amazing knowledge management; you can easily find any presentation. This is how we develop our data champions, so people can come back to their areas and champion the data. The idea is to demystify the data, to make sure they’re confident to talk about data, and to make sure they actually almost embrace data.”
Getting leadership on board
Mykhaylyk said anyone at Companies House can be a data champion, as long as they are interested in data. “It’s the idea of coming together and understand the data and learn from each other,” she said.
The organisation has also recently introduced data business partners. These will act as a bridge between the data team and project team.
Companies House also invested in communications around the strategy. “We do regular presentations to the execs; we developed good relationships with our internal comms team and we everything from our brand to infographics. We’re taking a lot of meetings and talking to people and again, to demystify data, and show them why it’s important and what is their role.”
She also said that the Companies House executive leadership was supportive of the project. “We have the right level of autonomy and support and authority. And this is quite rare,” she said.
“Our leadership understands that without transforming our data and making it better, we can’t deliver our transformation and we can’t make sure that we deliver our new agenda.”
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