Is there a disconnect between business process and information?
In The Business Processes of Enterprise Information Management I make the assertion that companies treat the optimization of business processes and the management of information as separate issues. I even back up my assertion with a quote from A report from Forrester “Warning: Don’t Assume Your Business Processes Use Master Data” by Rob Karel and Clay Richardson that states “In most large enterprises today, business process and data management professionals tactfully ignore one another,” and where they also claim that data architects are too IT focused with little consideration for business adoption.
A couple of weeks ago I met a colleague from SAP, Shawn Ahmed, who is SAP’s global lead of business development for enterprise information management (EIM). Shawn and I were presenting at the same sales training event. My topic was to help SAP sales reps understand the connection between business process and information so as to help their customers craft complete compelling solutions, and that part of our challenge was a general inability on the part of our customers to articulate a clear connection between data quality problems and serious business issues.
Executives already understand the impact of poor data quality and access to information
When it was Shawn’s turn to speak, he proceeded to talk about a study he conducted while a grad student at UCLA where was able to show that senior vice presidents do in fact completely understand the connection between business problems and the silos and gaps that exist in their enterprise information in relation to their end-to-end business processes. The result of this study show the challenge in getting these projects approved lies not in convincing senior management of the importance of data quality, but building a good business case for how a specific project will quantitatively and qualitatively impact these higher business problems that executive managers are already aware of – in other words, some solid value engineering work.
Executive whiteboard talk – information grey spaces in business processes show why companies need a solid EIM strategy
Shawn agreed to let me tape a small portion of his talk so that you can get an overview of his study. Shawn actually has a days worth of data he can share.
If you think your company would benefit on hearing the detailed results of this study, contact your SAP rep and ask to speak with an EIM Specialist, or someone from the SAP EIM Center of Excellence (COE). Or drop me a line here.