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Data Quality... the least sexy, yet one of the most important conditions for Business Performance

Posted on: 05-07-2017 10:37:341103


I’m getting quite experienced (a euphemism for ‘older’) and I have seen many businesses and their ERP-IT environments.

And many times, I have seen management teams and operational people working hard to improve the business performance…

With hefty sessions defining the measurements (sometimes looking like interdepartmental tribal wars) and time and cost consuming building of KPI’s and KPI-reports by the IT department. And let’s face it, it is great to be part of these strategically important initiatives. More even, it is considered ‘sexy’.

And still, these considerable efforts don’t always yield the expected results, do they. Actually, they often don’t. And the reasons can be manifold. The wrong KPI’s can be defined, triggering actions by operational people that are not in line with the company goal. You may have defined contradicting KPI’s between organizational silo’s, causing one party to do A and another party to do not A. It might be that IT didn’t build the correct logic or didn’t understand the complex ERP data structures… All very deep and difficult possible reasons.

But in a lot of cases there is quite a big chance that the quality of your basic operational and master data contains too much mistakes (a.k.a. ‘the data is corrupt’). And you all know the phrase ‘Garbage in – Garbage out’, don’t you. Misaligned KPI’s can be the cause of non-optimal business performance. But in most cases erroneous operational data and master data do a much better job in preventing you from improving.

Cleaning data, necessary?

Is cleaning your data an easy task? Without the proper tooling it isn’t. And with the proper tooling you will still need people with the proper knowledge to do the job. They must be aware of the ERP data structure of the modules they are responsible for, and they must be aware of the integration aspects between their modules and the other ERP modules. You won’t find too many of them and... the work is not considered ‘sexy’.

Is cleaning your data a necessary task? More! It is a strategically important one. Without clean data your KPI’s will fail and without the proper KPI’s it is hard to reach your strategic goals. So to make data cleansing ‘sexy’ I propose to introduce the function of Chief Data Officer on board level. The CDO being the head of a team of highly knowledgeable data quality experts. Their task, getting the data clean and making sure the data keeps clean, by instructing the rest of the organization. A special status, working two levels underneath the CEO and actually helping the company to improve. Wouldn’t that be ‘sexy’ enough?

Jacques Adriaansen
Business Improvement Thought Leader | LinkedIn

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