I began my career in Information Technology (IT) decades ago. IT was still called Data Processing when I started. As time passed, I became a little disappointed in the name change to IT, since after we began to refer to the processing of data as IT and not Data Processing, it feels like the focus has shifted to the Technology at the expense of the Data. We seemed to have forgotten that even the best ERP and analytical system still basically collect data and add, subtract, sort, collate, and report on the underlying data.
The newer, more advanced systems may do it very quickly and may have more sophisticated algorithms for predictive analytics. However, it is all still based on data, which, when cobbled together, becomes information. When working with my client these days, there is a lot of talk about “The system does (or at least should do) this or that.” However, little effort is placed toward getting the right data at the right time, more accurately.
One of the constants in our industry has been garbage in, garbage out. It has never changed. We have developed some controls, but only the obvious ones; try to limit glaring inaccuracies, like restricting numeric fields, using lookups, so on and so forth. It is not uncommon for a company to spend millions, tens of millions or in some cases, hundreds of millions of dollars on a new system and then balk at justifying spending on data cleansing.
I hear, “Our data is fine,” but it seldom is. It might be OK In one or two existing systems, but the same data is almost always in many systems and is rarely managed in such a way as to prevent duplicates, or worse, the same information is represented in many different formats. Even worse, this does not just apply to master data. For example, I have been in management meetings where the term “profit” was used. After the meetings, I have asked several attendees what the definition of “profit” was, and have gotten different answers from many of the attendees. This improper management of data makes it impossible to use the corporate asset, data, to produce accurate information. The only thing worse than no data is inaccurate data!
I once was in another setting where we were discussing using dashboards in a division of a huge multinational company. We discussed the benefits of having immediate access to the data to be able to look at trends and issues quickly. About two hours into the meeting, someone in the back raised their hand and asked, “How we were going to show data immediately when it takes a room full of people a week to ten days to validate it post-entry?”
Another client had 44 million records in their customer database, which meant that about 50% of the available market owned one of their products. They did not. Not even close. Bad Data is pervasive. It’s easy to enter in most cases, and it is tough to find and fix. Companies are spending millions, sometimes tens or hundreds of millions of dollars implementing systems to support a digital transformation. I cannot believe they would do so unless there is significant value in the data!
To extract and utilize that value, the question becomes, “Is it better to make sure that data entered is accurate at entry time or to fix it later?” Since we know that fixing bad data is very hard, why not try to make sure it’s accurate when entered? And while we are doing digital transformation projects, shouldn’t we utilize a tool that can keep track of all of the activities, including the all-important communication of value, including the value of accurate data?
Data is vital and is one of the core elements of the Platinum PMO AMIGO platform. AMIGO gives program clarity, unlike any others within the industry. The core Platinum PMO is an advocate and advisory in the ever-challenging world of Digital Transformation. Experience, knowledge, and expertise in guiding clients through programs with relative ease, while providing the needed clarity during crucial decisions is a core value we provide to our clients through consulting expertise and our state of the art tool, AMIGO.
Do not hesitate to contact us and see for yourself how we might be of assistance to you. We revel in solving and avoiding problems by providing efficient solutions that help you win!