HOME 5 Applied Tools 5 Data Capacity Assessment


The Data Capacity Assessment Tool is one of a suite of applied Community Well-being tools developed by SGIGs to form part of the online Data Governance and Management toolkit.

SGIGs are coming to this work with varied needs and capacities when it comes to collecting, utilizing, and storing data. Understanding one’s starting point – or current state of data capacity and readiness for change – is often a key early step on the path to intentionally growing data capacity over time, in alignment with strategic priorities and in service to any planned or ongoing data-related projects and initiatives. This tool supports that step.

The following is a summary of the Data Capacity Assessment Tool and how to complete it. Download the document below to access the tool itself. Please be sure to “Enable Macros” when prompted to ensure full functionality. A webinar video is also available for further guidance.

Tool Objectives

The Data Capacity Assessment Tool is a versatile tool designed to help SGIGs answer a set of key questions:
  • Where are we at in terms of our government’s data capacity?
  • How does our starting point inform our path forward?
    • Where do we want to go?
    • Where do we start? What do we prioritize?

Using the Tool

The Data Capacity Assessment Tool is an Excel spreadsheet composed of three tabs. The first tab provides an orientation to the tool. Please review this tab carefully. The second tab shows an overview of the data capacity assessment model that has been developed for SGIGs. The third tab is the Data Capacity Assessment Tool. This is where SGIGs will input their assessment of where they are at, and where they want to go, within the data maturity continuum, across all of the dimensions of the model. Columns B-E of the third tab are the assessment component of the tool, while columns F-I are planning components of the tool.

Suggested Approach

SGIGs should feel free to take their time to complete the assessment. There is no need to rush to complete it in one fell swoop. On the contrary, there are lots of benefits in walking a slower path. 

There are also benefits to doing this assessment in a cross-organizational, or team-based approach. As such, it can help to secure leadership support for some group work to complete the assessment, drawing on the expertise of contributors in other teams and departments. Refer to the information on “Why This Toolkit is Needed” and “Indigenous Approaches to Data and Evaluation” for useful information in securing leadership support. 

A designated lead should be identified to complete the assessment. Regardless of their understanding of current data practices within the government, the designated lead is encouraged to reach out and involve people across the various departments or teams to generate discussion and momentum around data and data capacity building. Gathering a wide array of insights and input will result in a more comprehensive and meaningful assessment of current data capacity while also creating opportunities to discuss, clarify, and set shared priorities for growing data capacity in the short, medium, and long term. 

It is also recommended to review and collate any existing laws, policies, and procedures that may affect or relate to data governance to refer to along the way. This helps ensure that the current state is accurately reflected in your assessment, and that any next steps and priorities arising from the assessment align with the SGIG’s law and policy.

This tool is both an assessment (columns B-E) AND a planning tool (columns F-I). Users will want to consider whether they want to carry out just an assessment, or the additional work to turn the assessment into a plan. If utilizing the planning components of the tool, users may want to consider completing the assessment of current state first (columns B-E) with key informants in the organization, before undertaking the planning components (columns F-I). This approach allows the SGIG to undertake planning with the full current assessment in mind, undertake relative prioritization of growth areas, and sequence priorities based on available capacity. Additionally, often, those involved in the assessment exercise are a smaller group of subject matter experts and key informants, while those involved in planning are a broader group that may include leadership. 

Finally, SGIGs are encouraged to make use of the data tools that have been developed by and for SGIGs, in particular the data governance framework and case study scenarios that are available to support them in completing the assessment. 

Accelerator project

While not necessary, it may be helpful for SGIGs to consider completing this data capacity assessment within the context of a focal point project. For example, a primary data collection can be a powerful accelerator to identify current data capacity, ensure appropriate data governance policy guidance is in place, enhance motivation and buy-in for data efforts, and implement systems for data decision-making, use, storage, and protection. 

If you are planning to or are currently undertaking primary data collection, the data capacity assessment can be a helpful tool to inform your work plan.

Downloadable documents

Data Capacity Needs Assessment Tool