Data Management and BI – From Chaos to Harmony
Data Management and BI – From Chaos to Harmony
Being in the consulting business for a while now, I think I’ve heard it all! I’m talking about all and any excuses and myths that decision makers, in companies of all sizes, come up with to avoid dealing with their data. And yet, everyone agrees that their data is one of the most critical assets of their business, and, that the old saying of “garbage in, garbage out” is true.
So why is the health and integrity of our business data are usually neglected, and the priorities are mostly given to fighting data fires or new tools to present the bad data in a cool way? And how do companies get to the point where they lose control of the integrity and accuracy of their data, end up with so many sources of truth, have minimal visibility over their operations, and lack KPIs and metrics to make informed business decisions.
I believe that is mainly caused by one or a combination of these beliefs or myths:
- We are too busy to worry about our data right now – this is by far one of the most common reasons why data management gets put on the back burner and is deferred until a glorious, future time when everyone is done with all their important work and projects and can then worry about data. And we all know that time is called: Never! Companies need to understand that data integrity is not a goal or a destination, but a continuous effort during the life of an operating business.
Also, I’ve noticed the companies that are “too busy” to manage their data, are actually busy fighting issues caused by bad data! Go figure.
- We are all fine! We can generate all the information we need from our disparate systems, and we have a full-time employee whose job is to do that – Sure, if you must pay the salary of a full-time data analyst to hunt data from various systems, beg (or fight with) other departments and teams to get access to their data, clean up and consolidate that data, pull Excel magic, email information and raw metrics to your executives, and you still can’t help but wonder how accurate or useful that data even is, then, you are all fine!
” Companies need to understand that data integrity is not a goal or a destination, but a continuous effort during the life of an operating business. “
- We don’t have budget to clean up, manage, and consolidate our data right now – like item #1 above, companies must decide to either spend some of their time and money on the quality, integrity, and accessibility of their data now OR spend all their time and money on putting out fires or dealing with issues caused by bad data later. Investing in data management and accurate KPI reporting is like investing in your house’s infrastructure, you won’t have a house without the foundation in place.
- We are too small to worry about data management and KPI reporting – I’ve seen and spoken with many “small” businesses with “big” data problems. It’s not the size of a company that should drive its data management strategy and KPI reporting priorities; data is a critical asset for every business, so if you are still in business and you are generating business data, then you must manage it. And you better start while you are still small, set the right data and reporting foundation in place, and do it right from the get-go. The larger your company gets, the harder it gets to re-structure, clean up, and consolidate your data.
- We are too big to be able to manage and aggerate our data – I can totally agree that managing and cleaning up data in large organizations could be a large challenge. It also requires a large budget and shift of priorities from operation/production to maintenance and clean-up mode, which is obviously not desired by any business. Based on our experience, and everyone else’s, the best way of eating an elephant is to take a bite at a time. Large companies with large data quality and integrity problems, should focus their time and budget initially on creating a robust Data Management strategy and roadmap and then tackle the near-term or most critical part of their data problems first while working on their long-term data quality and accessibility goals and objectives.
Data Management is not All or Nothing! Your business data evolves, matures, and changes as your business grows or changes and the data needs to be maintained, cleaned up, aggregated, and properly accessed.
If you don’t have the proper in-house recourses or the infrastructure to manage your data properly, seek for expert help and make sure you begin by defining a robust Data Management Strategy and Governance and select the right technology tools to consolidate and/or aggerate your data and provide practical and meaningful KPI dashboards to your organization.
If your processes are well defined and optimized, your systems and data sources are integrated and synchronized, and your organization is utilizing the right technology tools to visualize and report on the right KPIs, you can get from data chaos to data harmony faster and easier.
About Optimum: Strategic Data Management and BI Consulting
Optimum helps clients organize, analyze, and turn their data into insightful information and wisdom, allowing them to make informed decisions about their business strategy and operation.
Recognizing that seeing the big picture can often mean the difference between success and failure, our consultative services and technology expertise help companies turn granular detail into information and wisdom, enabling strategic decision making and increasing visibility.
We utilize various Business Analytics and Intelligence technologies and platforms, such as Microsoft PowerBI, Tableau, Domo, and more to build customized BI and reporting capabilities based on the unique needs of our clients. Learn more about our Data and BI services.
Author: Nooshin Yazhari, Managing Principal @Optimum