New Year’s Fitness and Your Data Supply Chain

January 06 2015

Author: Gerry De Filippo

Is your information out of shape? Has your data gotten a bit bloated over time? Do you have a lot of cooks in your kitchen who just have to add their own “personal touch” to your data “recipes?” Did you look at your latest set of holiday photos and see that some of them just do not fit, and also others that just show “Too Much Information?”

If so, maybe your data needs a new diet and workout routine.

Maybe you have tried these kinds of diets before. Whether your industry falls into retail, manufacturing, distribution, government, services or other silos, chances are that you have processes and systems in place to optimize moving your product or service from R&D to production, and eventually to obsolescence and phase out. You have probably invested a substantial amount of time and money in Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) systems, Warehouse and Inventory Management systems, Customer Information Systems, Project Management, Six Sigma and Lean Methodologies and other systems and tools. You have tried to improve these processes, but are still faced with struggles for the next big gain, the next improvement, the next niche or the ability to grow your market share in the face of new competition, marketing channels and social media. You may have already pared down your operating structure to the point that there is no fat left to trim, and you are still faced with the need to build more muscle.

When you hear buzzwords like “Big Data” or “Master Data Management (MDM),” you are really talking about changing your data diet. Your protein is your core data building blocks. Your fat is your metadata, which is used to digest the protein. Your carbohydrates are the descriptive attributes of your information. Vitamins, minerals and micronutrients are the business rules which govern your data and make it work properly. All of these things must be consumed in the right proportions in order for your business to function.

So, how good is your information diet?

  • Do you have the right information in the right format with the right assets at the right times for your business to be able to capitalize on it? (Calories)
  • Does information flow seamlessly between your systems, with the minimum amount of adjustment needed to ensure that you have quality data? (Blood pressure and digestion)
  • Do you have processes in place to ensure that your data is created and maintained at the standards your organization requires? Can these processes be measured? (Brain health, Body Mass Index and Weight scales)
  • Do your customers perceive your information to be accurate, timely and credible? (How do you look?)

If the answers to any of those questions are no, the good news is that there is a solution. Your information needs to be available on demand, and in enough depth to mine it for the nuggets of your next market or next innovation. In short, your data IS your next supply chain to be optimized. So, make a New Year’s Resolution to get your information in shape, create your Master Data Management Plan, and start working your data out in 2015.

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