The Cool Kids Corner: Data Mesh and Enabling Your Data Story 

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Read more about author Mark Horseman.

Hello! I’m Mark Horseman, and welcome to The Cool Kids Corner. This is my monthly check-in to share with you the people and ideas I encounter as a data evangelist with DATAVERSITY. This month, we’re talking about data mesh. Data mesh represents a federated model of running your data program. While the term is largely focused on architecture, it requires a federated approach to a lot of tenets of Data Management, including Data Governance. This federation involves a lot of folks fluent in Data Management in an organization. The larger the federation, the more folks who need to be adept at telling a story with data. So, let’s dive into how a data mesh initiative is an immersion program for data literacy, and ultimately, we’ll see what the cool kids are saying. 

The data mesh is an architecture implementation that democratizes the management of data by node, and each node is managed or curated by a team that has subject matter expertise. As you can imagine, this starts to work out a lot like The United Federation of Planets in Star Trek. Each node can be represented by a member power, all coming together under the federation’s goals of cooperation, development, and exploration. 

With this type of model, each node requires its own governance structures and processes. While you can have some variability between nodes, the required Data Management practices at each node require the folks managing the nodes to have significant knowledge about the data therein. The more nodes you have, the more people you have across your organization who are immersed in Data Management. This, in turn, creates an opportunity for collaboration, encouraging each node to give help and pointers, fostering a community of practice within the organization that provides for consistency in the federated model. 

Ultimately, each node will be able to tell its own local data story. And who better to tell a data story than Scott Taylor? Scott is also known as the Data Whisperer and has done some fantastic storytelling with puppets! 

What Scott really zeros in on is being able to communicate the “why” of Data Management. Why are things important to the organization? Ultimately, storytelling with data really gets at the heart of literacy, and in a data mesh environment, storytellers are important to have across your Federation, be it one of planets, locations, or even departments within an organization. To quote Scott’s book “Telling Your Data Story”: 

“Data storytelling is not just about analytics. But if you look at the content published about data storytelling, it is devoted to tips on visualization, dashboards, charts, graphs, and other ways to explain analytics. Analytics can bring all sorts of value to an enterprise as long as the data is trustworthy. Devoid of data management, however, analytics data storytellers have no story to tell.” 

Enjoy Scott’s latest puppet work below. 

Check out some of Scott Taylor’s work: 

Remember that you can meet and join Cool Kids like Scott Taylor at DATAVERSITY events (use code COOLKIDS to save 15%): 

Want to become one of the Cool Kids? All you need to do is share your ideas with the community! To be active in the community, come to DATAVERSITY webinars, participate in events, and network with like-minded colleagues. 

Next month, we’ll be digging into some communication methods for data professionals to use as they build and maintain engagement across their organizations.