Posted by: StephenHarris
The pervasive nature of data in organizations requires companies to be vigilant watch dogs over their data. More important than the security of your data, is the rich compelling story that lies burried in the sea of data resident in many companies. In tough economic times, there is no better feeling than having information about your business at your fingertips that provides actionable insight to effectively prioritize and manage your business. The more common challenges are:
•Increasing volumes of data due to rapidly changing business models
•On-demand access to data in a useful format
•Increased user populations – as a result of Mergers and Acquisitions,
•Increased data security requirements
•Growing regulatory data requirements (AML, BASEL II, GLBA, Patriot Act, HIPAA)
•Sheer volume of processing queries& reports to perform analysis
The more industry vertical specific challenges include:
•Fraud detection – Alert me when a significant pattern about my business changes
•Portfolio analysis and balance – What are the upper and lower control limits associated with this portfolio of accounts which alert me when something is out of balance
•Supply Chain Optimization
•Customer loyalty programs, knowing when customers buying patterns change
•Product Affinity Bundling – When and what do I market based on (aligning product offering to customers propensity to buy)
Why is this important?
1. Ability to measure your business goals more accurately through established Key Performance Indicators or Kick Pants Indicator depending upon who gets results
2. Perform cross departmental analysis
3. Peer to Peer Analysis
4. Perodicity analysis
5. Provide insight to data by detailed tracking and reporting – customer, internal and external business trends
6. Providing accessibility to data – via “one source of truth” – the way we define a customer is the same throughout the organization down to the technical meta data level.
7. Cleanse and Optimize data availability – What good is it to have “clean, accurate, data” if your infrastructure is not capable of serving up that data in a usable, timely fashion.
One of the biggest questions often asked by companies regarding there data, is “what do I need to know about my data”, the Answer is “Everything”! This may sound un-managable; but that is only the case if you don’t have an effective Business Intelligence Program and solution in place for your organization. The motto is “Thou shalt know thy data” – Your data is the livelihood of your business, regardless of the business, it tells the story about your business, your industry, and your performance, it’s the building block to Wisdom. We are all aware of the “Pyramid” with the building blocks being Data at the foundation or (tier 1) followed by Information, Knowledge, and Wisdom, at the top of the pyramid. Put yourself in the driver seat and refuse to be a passenger in this data driven economy. Know that the data your are using to make critical business decisions is being fed to you from “one source of truth”!
1)Thou shall cleanse thy data
2)Thou shall audit thy data
3)Thou shall secure thy data
4)Thou shall manage thy data
5)Thou shall refresh thy data
So now that your engerized to get establish a data quality program, implement governance, and take control over your future by implementing a BI solution. You must be equipped with a plan to answer the tough questions from both the business and IT. In many cases navigating this politically sensitive organizational keystone is a challenge alone, just know that you can make it work!
A commonly aksed question is – WHO SHOULD OWN THE DATA WITHIN THE ORGANIZATION?“The Dream Team” should own the data, that team is made up of :
i. Data Governance Leadership – Coaches, Vision, Authority
ii. Data analyst – Someone who has a close eye on the stats on the data
iii. Business and Technology Subject Matter Experts
iv. Operations Subject Matter Experts – the people who have been there, done that, and understand how to communicate to the general audience business user what’s going on, often times used as the champion to communicate play by play and build sponsorship, buyin and support. When in doubt of who should own the data at the end of the day it’s the same people responsible for creating revenue in that organization -
“THE BUSINESS” Simply put , everyone else needs to get on board. The owner is going to be more concerned about the accuracy, nurture, care and feeding of the data – A Data Czar or Data Steward – this person generally lives on the business side of the house, may or may not have and IT background, and is a great facilitator, negotiator, and communicator to establish a partnership between the business and IT organizations is optimal.
HOW CAN COMPANIES MAXIMIZE THE USE OF THE DATA THEY HAVE TODAY?
a. First make “data initiatives ” an organizational priority!
b. Second, “fund it” The old saying of put your money where your mouth is!
c. Establish a Enterprise Data Management/Governance Program”
d. Evaluate establishing “Center of Excellence” model for your organization, (virtual or centralized)
e. Evaluate if you have the right technology platform, tools and technology enablers in place, for example the hottest technology discussions taking place today are around Integrated BI solutions like Microsoft, Cognos, Microstrategy, etc.- take the time to learn how these technologies can enhance the use of your data
f. Lastly, seek professional help -get a plan (BI Roadmap) tailored for your organization that supports your strategic short term and long term goals.
The benefits of Business Intelligence vary by organization, most importantly a BI solution provides the ability to have actionable insight, the ability to accurately plan, manage, predict and expand your business. A BI solution doesn’t fix all of your problems, but it will surely change the focus from a historical perspective or “rear view mirror” management to a leading view or “windshield” mechanism. Just remember your business problems can be solved by taking control over your data initiatives and establishing a BI program!