It’s easy to understand why we need accurate data. We have to understand data to make critical business decisions.
If you trust your data sources, you can spot important patterns, reduce costs, and make smart decisions. But, if your data sources are unreliable, the opposite occurs. You won’t understand trends. You’ll struggle with doubt. Ultimately, it will be difficult to make strategic decisions. You may lose your competitive edge—because you are basing decisions on inaccurate information.
What are the big challenges your business faces?
There are three key challenges businesses face when it comes to managing data. Silos. Accuracy. Timeliness. Let’s explore each of these issues in detail.
If different locations, departments, and individuals record data differently, your organization will have problems.
We all know that having a commonly agreed system will prevent silos. This is just like having a common currency, or form of money when you want to pay for an item. It makes sense. If you have to exchange currency, you won’t ever know how much things really cost.
The same is true for data. It’s a lot easier when everyone involved agrees on a common system, process, and procedure to input data. Yet, many locations, departments, and individuals refuse to make the leap to a single data source.
You may encounter resistance in your business. Does this sound familiar to you?
“We’ve always done it this way. It’s worked for 50 years. Why change it?”
“Our remote location is different. We have to record the data this way or we won’t know what’s really going on.”
“Headquarters doesn’t get it. Our region has unique challenges, and that’s why we record data to support our marketing efforts.”
This kind of silo thinking creates big problems. When an entire organization needs a single and trusted view of what’s going on…regional interpretations are dangerous.
The second big challenge is inaccurate data.
Manual data entry may be part of the problem. Workers are juggling deadlines, dealing with intermittent workflow, and encountering regional variations. Time pressure, lack of training, or unfamiliarity with standards contributes to errors.
Many businesses are implementing technology solutions to avoid human error. The use of technology can improve data accuracy. By adopting automation, companies can achieve greater accuracy in some circumstances.
The third massive challenge is timeliness.
Many businesses struggle to get data promptly. If data is recorded only on a specific date and time, this can cause problems.
Consider how this works. If data is recorded weekly, a natural inaccuracy will occur in the days between data entry. While a Friday entry may be specific and accurate, a spike over the weekend will not be entered until the next Friday.
For time-relevance, this gap produces unreliable data.
It’s Time To Get Organized
As companies around the globe are looking to best use data to make informed decisions, many leaders are turning to master data management, also known as MDM.
MDM provides a clear path for getting and staying organized. People, processes, and technology must be in place to guarantee that data is accurate and consistent. MDM works by identifying key systems to specify data parameters. These may include having a governing agency that outlines data origin, recording, purpose, and policy.
One of the big issues for many companies is managing IT infrastructure. This is challenging enough for a single company. However, when companies expand, the problem expands exponentially.
In today’s business landscape, more companies are forming partnerships. Trends for these include partnerships amongst online businesses as well as brick-and-mortar companies. Mergers, acquisitions, expansions, and collaborations are increasingly popular. Each one requires a precise organizational approach to data, to be fully operational.
There are vast opportunities as well as significant challenges that come with expansion into different regions and countries. Just imagine what’s involved with managing data input in new markets, across different cultures, and amongst different languages.
Managing data is key to help everyone involved in expansions get the right information, and be able to trust that the information is accurate and timely.
To succeed in today’s business environment, consider how you can involve stakeholders in data management. By evaluating risks and putting people first, you may be able to increase the effectiveness of your data management policies.