Nurturing a community of data professionals in the UK who champion the value of data management

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  • 7 May 2020 9:10 AM | Mark Humphries (Administrator)

    There is a global consensus; test, track and trace is the way out of lockdown. To enable track and trace in the UK, NHSX will be rolling out an app that is currently undergoing trials[1]. The UK government has opted for a centralised data collection method, whereby phone to phone contacts are logged centrally and users receive a notification that they are at risk and need to self-isolate. An alternative de-centralised model has been proposed by Apple and Google whereby all users receive details of confirmed cases and the phone itself then notifies the user that that they are at risk and should self-isolate[2].

    The effectiveness of track and trace will be highly dependent on take up. The more people who use the app, the more effective it will be in identifying and notifying people at risk so that they can self-isolate, preventing the spread of the virus and keeping the all important reproduction rate, R, below 1 so that the rest of the population can safely go about their business.

    What do you think? Do you intend to use the app as it is? Or does data privacy trump public health for you? Would you use an app that was based on the de-centralised model?

    [1] https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/technology-52532435

    [2] https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/technology-52441428

  • 29 Apr 2020 11:29 AM | Mark Humphries (Administrator)

    I’m a data geek, so I tend to see things through the prism of data. The COVID-19 pandemic is no exception. While some people are glued to the daily theatre of government briefings, I’m looking for reliable sources of information. In particular I’m looking for evidence of how the pandemic is evolving, how long we’re likely to be in lockdown and what is the impact likely to be for me, my family, my colleagues and my clients.

    There is certainly lots of data out there, but how do you filter out the noise, because the data is very noisy at the moment with some very wild claims and data that appears to support such a broad range of positions and theories. The conspiracy theorists are having a field day, but let’s not go down that rabbit hole.

    My favourite source for information at the moment is the FT. In particular the work of John Burn-Murdoch (@jburnmurdoch) and Chris Giles (@ChrisGiles_). John collates data from around the world to produce a series of daily trackers showing high quality visualisations including daily rates of new cases and deaths, which are the two trackers that I check every day. Chris merges the official daily count of COVID-19 hospital deaths from the Department of Health and Social Care with the weekly total death statistics from the ONS, to produce an estimate of the total COVID-19 deaths.

    There are two things that I really like about their work. The first is that the information is presented in a very clear way. John uses logarithmic scales which means that the slope of the line is the most important thing. A straight line represents exponential growth, and while we were in that very scary phase, the straight line showed very clearly how serious the situation was. The same visualisations are also now showing that lockdown measures are working and both deaths and new cases are coming down. I can see all this in less than 30 seconds every morning. Meanwhile Chris’s visualisations show the difference between weekly deaths now and the five year average, with the implication being that the difference is down to COVID-19, which is clearly much worse than seasonal flu.

    The second thing I like is the fact that they both show their working and they are clear about the uncertainties and the assumptions that they make. John has a useful and informative video clip explaining why he uses the logarithmic scale, where his source data comes from, and what the inconsistencies are. He is open about the fact that the data is very noisy, and what he has done to compensate for this. He has settled on a 7 day rolling average, for example, to smooth out some of the noise in the daily reporting. Chris documents the assumptions that he makes about merging two separate data sources, and he is clear about when and why he changes those assumptions. The fact that they show their working in such a transparent manner, and that they patiently respond on Twitter to questions and criticisms allows me to validate their output for myself, to the extent that I trust it. I feel confident that I understand what their work shows and what it can’t.

    The COVID-19 pandemic is topical, and it’s putting some data under the spotlight, but it’s highlighting some unchanging truths, fundamentals if you like. To make sense of data requires rigour, including understanding where data has come from (lineage), how reliable it is (quality) and what it actually means.

  • 24 Apr 2020 5:02 PM | Lisa Allen (Administrator)

    Hi, I’m Suzanne, I’ve been on the Committee for DAMA for over 3 years and I run the Northern meet ups. Normally we’d meet up several times a year. Here at DAMA we’re not letting Covid hold us back! As we can’t have face to face meetings, today we held a virtual Data Management Northern meetup instead.

    The event was really successful. We had 7 people join us. Hot topics included implementing a data catalogue, data quality skills and tools, data strategy, governance tools, deleting records for GDPR as well as updating data policies, processes and procedures due to home working. We shared our success and horror stories of these topics and gave each other some useful tips and points of contact.

    We will schedule more events in May. I’m afraid we must limit invitees to allow everyone to share their hot topics and get advice from each other. But don’t worry we will book in more, so they’ll be ample opportunity to join.

    Not a member of DAMA yet and want to attend our events? Find out how to join here: https://damauk.wildapricot.org/Join-us

  • 24 Apr 2020 12:56 PM | Sue Russell (Administrator)


  • 9 Mar 2020 1:23 PM | Mark Humphries (Administrator)

    CDMP certification is an indication of knowledge, skills and experience in Data Management. This year we are actively promoting CDMP certification in a drive to boost professionalism across the UK, and we are committed to making it as accessible as possible while maintaining a high standard.

    In January we ran the first of 3 CDMP boot camps in Reading for 20 attendees, all of whom passed the exam. The next two boot camps will be held in Birmingham in September and in Liverpool in November with 20 places available for each course. Keep an eye on our website; once we have confirmed dates and venue, we will be accepting bookings on a first come, first served basis.

    These sessions are aimed at data management professionals who already have a good understanding of the DAMA DMBoK as well as several years of practical experience of working with and managing data. The aim is not to teach data management, but to prepare data management professionals for the exam. The trainer is CDMP Fellow and DAMA International VP for Professional Development Chris Bradley. Chris lead the development of the current CDMP exams, so there is no one better qualified than him to prepare candidates for the exams.

    In order to make certification as accessible as possible, we are running these courses at cost and we do not aim to make a profit. The cost will be £525 for DAMA UK members and £575 to non-members; the £50 difference is the price of a year’s membership, so we hope to encourage non-members to join. The price includes the exam fee (US$311) for the Data Management Fundamentals exam which is taken in the afternoon of the second day.


    For more information on the CDMP exams see http://cdmp.info

  • 25 Feb 2020 7:39 AM | Sue Russell (Administrator)

    By Nicola Askham


  • 19 Feb 2020 1:13 PM | Sue Russell (Administrator)

    Architecting Accountability – Making Data Governance & Data Architecture Work Together


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