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There is a paradigm shift happening, but it’s not happening fast enough. The shift is in the way that organizations view the importance of their data for business intelligence. For most, strategic assets are the people and equipment that make up the steady stream of revenue companies live on. These “assets” require steady investment and enhancement in order to preserve the lifeblood and value they represent. Today more and more CIOs and line of business executives believe that a company’s data requires the same “strategic asset” label.

The issue that prevents a company from realizing the value of their data is their belief that “IT stuff” is cost overhead and therefore needs strict budget management. To add to this, business lines that are overhead are most susceptible to cost cuts and budgetary constraints. Some forward thinking visionaries will suggest this perspective is akin to shooting oneself in the foot and does little to encourage the strategic income value of data.

What if your data had a quota? What if you employed data quality tools to automate the governance process and measured the value in revenue on a yearly basis. Estimations would suggest that adding revenue as a result of trusted data is not a far stretch and many are realizing this. Could you save $500,000/year on internal resources alone? Sure you can. This is reachable by reducing the manual cleansing effort required for, let’s say, deploying ERP or any other application you have slated as a project for the year. If you have a lot of data, this figure represents about 8 FTE’s trying to spread-mart their way to success.

Additional questions to consider are:

  • Can I get vendor rebates with a clear picture of how much I am spending?
  • Will I sell more to my customers if I know exactly what they bought?
  • Can I moderate my inventory to improve cash flow and reduce back orders?
  • How can quicker access to acquisition data make me money?
  • In what ways can sales benefit from quality data?

These questions are just a start and can lead to some significant value that you could assign a quota to. Why not?

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2 Comments

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  1. Simon To
    Since I work in the retail industry, having real-time data of your inventory and the customer profile is golden. Quality data will absolutely improve your bottom line. The problem normally lies on who owns the initiative and who champions the effort. Many companies classify Business Intelligence as an IT function which I disagree. Business Intelligence should be a business function and not an IT function. Most business users do not trust IT because of the lengthy process and red-tapes. In the past, I had worked in IT department where we had meeting to plan for a meeting, which became absurd. That is usually the reason why the BI initiatives in many companies failed.
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    1. John Santic Post author
      Simon, thanks for your comment and thoughts. The tension between IT and business does exist because of the confusion of ownership, as you indicated. The positive trend I see today is that more and more companies are leaning in the direction you suggest and seeing BI as a business function – especially data quality. And new tools such as Information Steward from SAP are doing well to bridge this gap to bring IT and business together to collaborate on BI for the business. 
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