Seeing Data Problems Through Different Lenses

April 2, 2014 Enget Dang

Image_Different Lenses for Your Different Data Problems

Before Meredith Baldock’s presentation last week on How Westinghouse Tackled the Master Data Management Challenge, she presented an interesting precautionary safety brief before beginning, and with that in mind my safety brief to you is to not read this blog post while driving.

Meredith, the Global SAP Data Governance Manager at Westinghouse Electric Company had presented to hundreds of attendees in a webinar with BackOffice Associates. Westinghouse Electric Company employs over 12,000 employees in 18 countries, and continues to make huge strides in the advancement of nuclear power generating technology.

Like many large organizations, Westinghouse began a master data management initiative to establish an effective global information governance strategy that would reduce costs across their organization.

Seeing the Data Problem

Their first line approach: purchase a number of tools before they knew what the problem was. The glitz and glamour of many tools will lead you to believe that yes, this must be the solution, yes we need this. Recently I had purchased a wide-angle adapter for my digital camera so my pictures would encompass more objects in my images. I always found it somewhat difficult to get everything to fit onto my 3 inch wide screen. My “aha” moment was when I realized that it wasn’t my camera causing the problems or hindering me from taking wider pictures, it was my lack of understanding that by taking just a few steps back and angling the position of my body I could capture more objects in my picture. If I had known this beforehand it would’ve saved me $25.89 (shipping not included). I should’ve asked myself from the start, is my camera actually a problem? Does it still function without the adapter?

Similar to my camera dilemma, Meredith brings up an important question, is your data actually a problem? Is there a business problem? Is the data difficult to understand? Can your organization function? In Westinghouse’s case, yes data was a problem and executives noticed it in reporting inconsistencies as well as long lead times to compile information, much of which was unreliable and almost immediately out-of-date. This led to substantial costly project overruns mostly due to data integration that was adding up fast.

They had subjected themselves to “buying tools before they had rules”. Executives wanted instant results and savings which made it hard to quantify without a formal data governance program in place. If that wasn’t enough, an increased deadline added more pressure for the Westinghouse team, but it did force them to question everything which was for the better.

Through a BackOffice Data Audit, Westinghouse was able to see the truth behind their data problems. Here are some examples of what surfaced:

  • SCM – Buyers issuing penny purchase orders to suppliers with intention of coming back to correct line items
  • Vendor – US Vendors with multiple Minority Codes across their active Company Codes
  • HCM – Tens of thousands of job positions without holders
  • Finance – Duplicate GL Accounts made posting to accounts confusing and difficult

They were given a primary goal to substantiate and eliminate the problems. So how did they do it?

Find Out How

Join Meredith Baldock, Global SAP Data Governance Manager of Westinghouse Electric Company at the Gartner Enterprise Information & Master Data Management Summit in Las Vegas, NV on April 3rd as she presents Westinghouse Information Governance: Patterns in the Chaos . . . the Journey Continues from 10:15am – 11:15am PT at Lando 4201-B. Also, meet with BackOffice Associates directly as one of the event’s Premier Sponsors at Booth #206 and enter to win an iPad Mini.

Can’t make the event? Access the on-demand webinar Hear How Westinghouse Tackled the Master Data Management Challenge featuring Meredith Baldock and Evan Alexander, Enterprise Account Manager at BackOffice Associates by completing this simple form.

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