Big Data is a hot topic. It has been for a while now. Yet again, Gartner has named BI/Analytics as the #1 technology priority for CIOs and Forrester has declared the path to success is a partnership of data-savvy CIOs and CMOs. But there’s a reason it’s consistently a top priority. Turning Big Data into something useful is hard. And maintaining it over time can be even harder.
The problem is fairly clear. Accounting has one set of customer data designed to facilitate transactions. Sales has a set of data that includes completely different types of information on both clients and prospects. And Marketing has yet another set of data that likely reaches beyond customers and prospects. There’s no doubt a great deal of overlap among these data sets, but how much? What are we duplicating, where do we have conflicts, and what data can we actually trust to be accurate and current?
Have you asked some of these same questions? If so, you’re not alone. Nearly every organization deals with this problem at some level. We struggle with it ourselves. Recently we went through an internal audit of our CRM database to identify and fix problem areas. We spent time clearing out duplicate and inaccurate data, then worked with a 3rd party corporate data provider to help provide data validation and augmentation where some of our records may have been incomplete. We weren’t surprised to find we had some bad data, but we were concerned by the amount of bad data we had. Like many mid-market companies, we had not necessarily been following some of our own best practices. We weren’t following our own Master Data Management (MDM) Program.
Your company probably has some basic rules or processes for how personnel enter and manage data in the various systems they use. But are those processes aligned across groups? And even better, is the data that they’re entering coordinated across systems? If not, you’ll likely find yourself falling back into the same situations. Duplicates, conflicts, and outdated and incomplete records. But by designing and implementing a solid MDM program, you can avoid these issues before they become problems. And better yet, with a robust set of data that you can trust, you can start making real decisions and plans for the future. That’s how Big Data transforms into Business Intelligence.
If you’re struggling to maintain your data systems or need help developing processes to manage your data, give us a call. Our team of Database Architects, Data Scientists and Business Analysts love to tackle problems like this. It’s how we help businesses become enterprises.