Episode Archive

SCP E196 Data Governance, Cultures and Communities, with Warren Dean

In this episode I have a brilliant chat with Warren Dean, Data Analyst and the Founder of DataTale, which is a company that provides Power BI solutions and training to Local Governments. BI stands for Business Intelligence, by the way. It is important you know that because we will say it a lot of times in this episode. Warren tells us about his background in data analytics for both State and Local Governments, and how that led to his founding of DataTale. We discuss the importance of data storytelling and Warren shares some great examples of how Councils can use data more effectively as an asset to make decisions that better serve their communities. Warren and I discuss the importance of strong data governance and creating data cultures and data communities, as well as some of the things Warren considers when pulling data sets together. We talk about data being the common denominator and therefore possibly the key to integrating across disciplines, industries and governments, and Warren then tells us about the Standardised Data Model he’d like to see that would make it accessible and affordable for small councils that can’t afford to hire a data analytics or BI team. We talk about the importance of data as a skill not just for the future but really for now as well, and the emerging trends of changes in workplace and mobility in the post-COVID world. We finish our chat discussing some of Warren’s favourite Data resources. As always we hope you enjoy listening to this episode as much as we enjoyed making it.

Listen here: 

What we cover in this episode:

  • Warren’s background in data and both State and Local Government
  • His passion for data storytelling and how that led to his founding of DataTale
  • What sparked his interest in Smart Communities and why he doesn’t resonate with the term Smart City
  • The importance of data storytelling and what a Data Community is to Warren
  • Some examples of how Councils can use data more effectively as an asset to make decisions that better serve their communities
  • Things Warren considers when pulling data sets together
  • The importance of strong, rigorous data cultures and governance practices
  • Why supporting people within a data community is important 
  • Data as the common denominator and why it’s possibly the key to integration across disciplines, industries and governments 
  • The role of a data analytics and BI teams in local government
  • A Standardised Data Model that Warren would like to see to make this accessible for smaller councils that can’t afford to hire a main data analyst or BI role
  • The opportunity for better utilisation of resources in local governments through even simple data analytics applications 
  • The emerging trend and new opportunities in self-service analytics 
  • The importance of data skills not just for the future but for now
  • The emerging trends of changes in workplace and mobility in the post-COVID world
  • Some of Warren’s favourite Open Data resources 


“My passion is data analytics… but really more about data storytelling, how to take data and interpret it, and then present it in a way that it’s so obvious…my motto is if you can’t understand that visual in 30 seconds, then it’s pointless. So you know, if you have a meeting with the CEO, and they need to ask you questions about your visualisation, then you’ve missed the mark. So that’s something I love doing, the data storytelling.”

“There is a bit of pushback sometimes from people because they are scared that you are going to find out that [they’re] not doing a good job [by looking at the data]. But really, what we’re trying to do is help them to do a better job.”

“We can’t just give someone a technology and then expect them to go away and do it. We support them via a data community.”

“The great thing about government is we’re not competitors at all, and we’re able to learn and share and collaborate. I think anything without community is always going to fail, because you’re [not] building that culture, within people’s lives, within an organisation.”

“Data is something we all have in common….every job is collecting data, it doesn’t matter what you do. So I think it is definitely a common talking point.”

“There’s a lot of work as a data analyst, understanding the business, understanding their pain points, and what are actually the issues. And then finding those issues in the data, sometimes is the problem….What I found is [that] I really have to be involved with this, at the start, not just come in at the end and try to fix everyone’s problems.”

“You don’t need to be a data expert. But you have to understand the context of the data, where is the data, and then tools like Power BI and Tableau are just making it so easy to manipulate that data and helping you to make decisions. So I wouldn’t even say it’s a skill of the future. It’s the skill of now.”

“What I haven’t seen yet is all these data from different systems—so every system is doing its own thing—but bringing all this data together as a whole community or a city to make decisions.”


Power BI


Local Government Information Technology South Australia or LGITSA 

Episode 149 with Nathaniel Mason 


Australian Census data


Crash Stats Victorian Open Data

New York City’s Open Data Portal Map My Crash


Find the full show notes at: www.mysmart.community 

Connect with Warren via LinkedIn and his YouTube channel or datatale.com.au 

Connect with me via email: hello@mysmart.community 

Connect with My Smart Community via LinkedIn or Twitter and watch on YouTube

The Smart Community Podcast is produced by Perk Digital.


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