Would you move house because it was messy? Probably not. So why move your data?
Alan has three kids and a job in logistics. He likes cooking, golf and snowboarding. Three months ago Alan and the kids moved to a bigger house, one with a wet room shower attached to the master bedroom. No more tripping over bath toys, at last!
That was the idea anyway.
In reality, there are plenty of toys in the wet room – and everywhere else in the house for that matter.
Because Alan’s house is a mess. It looks nothing like the estate agent brochure he fell in love with all those months ago. And it’s not just the kids. Alan’s never been good at keeping tidy, which might explain the stack of recipe cards in the boot room and the golf clubs on the sofa.
He’s a bit of a hoarder too.
Take the “vintage” telephone side table from his parents’ home, for example. Alan knows it should be given to charity but instead it’s cluttering up the landing where it’s used as a dumping ground for his teenage daughter’s discarded – but not thrown away – make-up.
What’s all this got to with data you may ask? The thing is, Alan’s old house was just as disorganised and cluttered as this new one. The problem isn’t the building, it’s the people and things in it. With a data management system the same principles apply. Moving to a new data platform every time your existing one becomes disorganised or difficult to use won’t necessarily solve the problem (and if it does, they’ll be other factors at play).
In most cases, you’ll have a shiny new system, but you’ll be filling it with the same data you had before – and carrying on with the same bad habits. The outcome? More clutter and chaos.
So how can you avoid this mistake? The first step is figuring out whether your problems are because of the house you’re living in (your existing PIM or MDM platform), what’s inside it (your data) or your business’ bad habits (people, processes, and governance). The chances are it’s a combination of all three.
By moving without a well-thought-out plan, the mess and clutter are boxed up and unpacked it into a new place.
So back to Alan’s new house:
- It’s cluttered, which makes it feel smaller than it is
- Some of the furniture isn’t used (adding to the clutter)
- Over the years, he’s accumulated duplicate items that he just doesn’t need. Take his two ironing boards, for example
- Other furniture is in the wrong place (frustrating)
- The kids moan that they can never find anything
- Any ‘tidy up’ never lasts for long, due to bad habits across the household
- Nobody wants to invite guests over
Now let’s look at an inefficient data management system
- There’s extraneous data cluttering it up, making it seem inefficient
- Data is stored in the wrong place
- Duplicate data is rife
- You can’t find the data you need when you need it
- Bad processes make any new data quality efforts pointless (as bad data is lumped together with new data)
- Your data is in too poor a state to share with suppliers, vendors, partners, etc.
If any of these statements ring true, it’s a red flag that what your business needs isn’t necessarily a new system, but a thorough clean-up of the old one – and a long, hard look at the data processes that surround it.
If you have an existing data management platform, and it’s not getting the results you want or need, there are several key areas we’d advise you look at before migrating to a new system.
Any data initiative should align with your business objectives. A data quality project should define how you collate the right data for your needs, and the quality controls you need to make sure it’s relevant, accurate and reliable.
Make sure your data quality is always up to scratch with our Data Quality services.
Data governance is key to putting an end to bad habits and getting everyone working towards to the same data goals.
Our Data Governance as a Service provides a pragmatic, step-by-step approach to data governance, with a platform to manage your project.
Are you connecting the dots with your organisation’s data? If you have multiple data sources, or more than one data system – for instance, a PIM and an ERP – you may need to look closer at data integration.
If you want to make sure your data is always where you need it, when you need it, discover our Data Integration service.
A vendor-neutral consultant can help you assess the technology you’re using and examine other options. We can help you identify the data technology you need to fulfil your business goals.