Fear, Uncertainty and Doubting your data is a feature of organisations who are failing to effectively manage their information resources. As a result, it is one of the main issues to address when building an information management strategy for a dataFUD organisation. How do you know if your organisation is failing? Well, if you're reading this blog then there is a good chance you already know, but just in case, here are some things to think about. Do you or others in your organisation spend a lot of time:
- Performing work incorrectly or making a wrong decision?
- Re-doing work because it was previously performed incorrectly?
- Recovering from the impact of making a wrong decision?
- Taking unnecessary time to investigate the integrity of the data before using it?
- Performing calculations or reformatting the data before it can be used?
- Hunting for additional information in order to use the data?
- Losing customers because it caused work to be performed incorrectly?
- Causing unrecoverable damage?
- Missing business opportunities?
- Miscommunication within the business or with end customers and other information stakeholders?
If any of these ring true, then there is a good chance that you need to manage information better. How will this help? I've identified 7 main benefits that an organisation can realise by managing information better. They are:
- Improved Data Quality – Poor information management leads to poor data quality and subsequently poorer business decisions. Early indicators of the business costs of non-quality data (listed in the bullet list above) point to potentially foregoing revenue as high as 10-20% of the revenue or total budget of the organisation.
- Elimination of Duplicate Work – Removing redundancies, reducing the need for rework and therefore reducing operational costs by repairing data quality issues that create the need for manual reconciliation and avoid futile marketing and sales expenditure. On its own, by halving the costs related to poor data quality, a 5-10% saving on operating expenses can potentially be achieved.
- Unified Vision – or Single Source Of the Truth. Organisations that break the barriers between their silos of operations can unlock value by obtaining unified views of business-critical data like customers and products, as well as apply existing information in new value adding ways such as opportunity identification and cross selling opportunities. This will improves the ability to coordinate activities between lines of business.
- Broader insights and Better Decisions – into data across products and business units. Decision makers gain a deeper understanding of operations and an accurate picture of past and present performance as well as predictions of future performance that shape decisions.
- Support More Complex Operations – The ability to serve numerous users with varying requirements at a lower cost. Users include employees from different areas within the organisation, external suppliers, partners and any other party that may interact with the company.
- Continuous workflow – Continuous workflow with timely information available. This stops people having to wait for information that they require to perform their work and make decisions. Delay can cause lost opportunities or added costs. A well designed information management capability will reduce the lead time an organisation requires to go to market with something new.
- Compliance – Aids compliance to legislation such as Sarbanes-Oxley as knowing where to find the information required will decrease the risk of non-compliance and allow for greater responsibility.
These benefits are pretty fundamental to the competitiveness and sustainability of business in the 21st century. Just remember that although information management may often be talked about in technological terms, the true key to improving performance is found by up-skilling staff so that they are able to take advantage of your technology investments. There is a reason that almost all management and information experts are talking about competing on analytics. My favourite response? A fool with a tool is still a fool - it doesn't matter how good the data quality.