The Absence of a Data Assessment

January 22, 2015 W. Matt Wagnon

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As the market changes from year to year, one thing that has remained constant within every industry is that your organization’s systems will change but your data is continuous and will live on across your Enterprise Architecture. This is an unavoidable fact as your organization moves through the different stages of your “data journey”. Perhaps your organization may be migrating your own homegrown mainframe systems as well as a handful of other process unique systems to an enterprise class ERP system that is fully integrated with the cloud (e.g. from a HR and/or CRM perspective). Ongoing mergers, acquisitions, divestures, maybe even system consolidations and system upgrades, demand constant visibility into your data quality to ensure the success of the investments and goals that your organization has envisioned within this area.

Perhaps your enterprise architecture is completely setup, upgraded and/or consolidated and now your data will live in that system for the foreseeable future. An organization such as this would be at a very different point along their data journey than that of an organization consolidating legacy systems and moving to an enterprise level suite of business applications (ERP, PLM, CRM, SRM, SCM, APO, HCM etc.). An organization that has established an enterprise architecture, would want to concentrate on raising and maintaining a high-level of data quality, potentially even a Six Sigma level. Without a data quality and data governance initiatives, your business is at risk. Key business processes can be brought to a screeching halt merely because of erroneous data existing within your systems. This leads not only to profitability losses, but could also lead to one or many of the following:

  • Non-compliance; resulting in failed audits
  • Regulatory Fines
  • Product Recalls/ Spoilage
  • Violations in contractual obligations
  • Inability to ship product or fill orders

Reaching and maintaining such levels is no small feat. Extensive knowledge from both IT and the business is required in order to ensure success. In fact, many organizations have trouble knowing where to start. Some think that merely preventing users from entering erroneous data within the systems and implementing a MDM or Master Data Governance solution is the answer. That very well may be a step within the data journey, but in reality it is only a small percentage of what will make you successful, if it’s even needed at all.

So, how can organizations inform themselves while increasing their visibility into their data, regardless of where they are on the data journey? Well that answer is simple. A data assessment can inform any organization as to where the risks are within the data, thus, increasing visibility to proactively prevent business-process failures, fines and other events leading to profit losses. At the same time, this assessment would be able to identify and quantify your needs for a data governance strategy. For example, you may find out that implementing a passive data governance strategy with closed loop remediation may be enough to reach a Four or Five Sigma level within certain data domains whereby another data domain may need more of an active/ master data governance strategy to reach similar or higher levels. Typically passive data quality reporting is vastly less costly than an active governance implementation and introduces far less from a change control perspective within your organization. A simple data assessment could potentially save your organization millions in multiple ways.

Leveraging a data assessment from an organization with the experience and reusable content that can be used across your enterprise architecture is essential. They will know where to look and will typically come along with pre-packaged content that will not only identify your data quality problems but give you the ability to fix them in an automated, user-friendly, end-to-end experience. Whether you are in the early stages of planning for a migration or you are part of an organization that is mature from a data governance organizational standpoint and looking to implement an active master data governance solution, a data assessment will increase your visibility into what your next step within your data journey should be, while potentially saving you time, resources and money.


About the Author

W. Matt Wagnon

Matthew Wagnon is the Senior Director of Product Strategy at Syniti. Husband, Father, Creator of the Syntini - Syniti’s Signature Cocktail

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