The old axiom that information is power rings true today more than ever. Data, the access to it, and the reliability of it, are what gives organizations power in an on demand world. Sure, products and customer service and sound financial management are also key, but bad data is like a submerged iceberg ready to sink an organization into disarray and unnecessary expense.
What do I mean, and why do I think it is so important? Data reliability is the key underpinning of the Web 2.0 revolution that is about to taking the retail supply chain by storm. Bad data makes integration difficult and virtually useless.
How many companies verify and validate their UPC data, for example? In the jobs we do, we regularly see companies that have multiple products with the same UPC code. We also regularly see a product being ordered that has not yet been setup in the order/inventory system. We regularly see discontinued items being ordered because a retailer has not updated their online catalogs. The down stream results are failed transactions and dissatisfied partners, not to mention the costs associated with digging into the failed process to determine the reason things failed. What we hear is, this did not bridge or my EDI system does not work. Why does this keep happening?
Get burned once and you would figure things would get cleaned up. Right? Wrong.
Corporate electronic data and in particular the cleanliness of that data is not yet viewed as a corporate asset. You trade on the basis of the quality of your products, but in an on demand electronic world you trade on the integrity of your data.
Companies need data champions within their organizations. I am proposing that all companies need a Chief Data Officer. Seem far-fetched. Not really.
Start cleaning up data and integration will become easier and cheaper. Simplify processes around clean data and integration will become cheaper and easier. Have you looked at your data recently?