Only recently, I gave a lecture about data quality and master data management/governance for a larger audience. It was a not the first time that I presented the topic, and I started my speech as usual with common business needs for adopting a master data strategy and then moved to the SAP software portfolio that is set to tackle the challenge.
I began with SAP Data Services and Information Steward being the appropriate weaponry for data quality improvement and control, and then came to SAP Master Data Governance bringing in the process component ensuring sustained master data quality by involving predefined validations and putting the relevant data stewards in the driver’s seat.
The session went well, there was a lot of interest in the audience, and after the official Q&A part I was approached by a listener who stated that he liked the session overall, but was a bit confused by the product variety outlined in my presentation.
Well, I took the feedback… and forgot about it on my way home. It was only yesterday that this came to my mind again, and I started thinking about what the listener wanted to tell me. From an outside SAP perspective, the world obviously looks a bit different:
As a business or IT specialist in a company, if you are faced with data quality related business issues you want to:
- Be in a position where you can easily analyze and visualize existing data issues
- Be able to dig into the root cause, and be able to cleanse defective data
- Avoid in the long-term that such issues occur again
Actually the outlined SAP solution portfolio perfectly matches these needs, but the way data managers think starts with their needs and ends with a solution, not vice versa. So If I had told the story straight from a solution-oriented perspective and had come up with the associated software only afterwards, I guess the message would have been clearer.
It was really revealing how important it is to take the customers’ perspective to get the message across and not just by telling how great our products are.