How Does Good Data Impact Our Life?

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A leading office products manufacturer had data on thousands of unique products which were scattered across multiple European siloed systems equating tens of thousands of duplicated products. Every new product created needed to be set up multiple times. With each local set-up, a variation in data occurred, meaning there was no ability to roll up sales across Europe by product.

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Liz Henderson, Global Data Management Director
Liz spoke at the Virtual IRM UK Data Governance & Master Data Management Summit Europe co-located with the Virtual Enterprise Data & Business Intelligence and Analytics Conference 3-4 November 2020 on the subject, ‘Data Management & Governance: Why & Where to Start
This article was previously published here.

The impact

On a product manager; they were not able to see their product portfolio performance. The Finance team; could not provide product costing accurately, nor was stock and product lifecycle managed effectively, resulting in huge stock right-offs. Ultimately this resulted in poor control over costs, no clear understanding of revenue steams or where change and investment was needed to increase revenue. Even customers were impacted as they would not receive accurate product information.

All our product manager, we will call Fred, wanted was to understand his sales by product for all regions, to enable control of his portfolio to make the right changes, to increase his success, hit his sales and stock targets and earn a bonus, so he could buy that beautiful necklace for his devoted and caring wife.

The business had around 400,000 products of which around 50% were duplicated, had zero stock holding or were obsolete. Due to the volume in products and multiple systems across Europe the challenge of bringing all systems together looked impossible, costly, disruptive, time consuming and resource heavy, along with the cultural challenge of removing the independence that each region currently had to manage their own variation of product codes and ranges.

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The company launched an initiative to create a golden source of its product data. Having a single version of the truth for products, which would used to feed data into other systems for example: forecasting, finance, marketing, sales, logistics, etc.

At the same time the lineage of the journey data went on through the business was assessed. This would identify any journeys where data stopped once it had been amended and no communication flow existed to advise of the change for either internal or external customers.

What was needed was a product information manager, data governance and management; Data standards including rules for data; Processes and procedures for introducing new products, setting them up and sharing data across multiple business areas; Good product lifecycle management and most importantly in my view a cultural change to value data as an asset and care for it to ensure it remains good quality and fit for purpose throughout its lifecycle.

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Sounds a lot, well it is, data is not a project it’s a business transformation, towards improving how we take care for our data.

My advice is take a ‘piece’ at a time, and carefully ensure that ‘piece’ is embedded successfully before taking the next step. Plenty of guidance on a data governance framework for implementation in my other posts.

Back to Fred, our thoughtful married product manager.

Having accurate controlled data in one system, a single version of the truth that could be used by other systems; Providing accurate reporting; Inputing into the development of a strong Go To Market strategy; Managing product lifecycles; Reducing regulatory compliance costs as accurate data does not attract a premium like estimated data does. All benefits of good data including…Fred having a full understanding of his product range, with sufficient lead time to manage stock levels and future production commitments to ensure he hits his targets, receives his bonus and delights his wonderful wife with a sparkling necklace.

Having good data has impacts on our lives in many ways!

Liz is a data executive with over 15 years experience, a proven track record of leading and shaping data strategy, advising and executing a wide range of corporate compliance and digital transformations with a sustainable platform for expansion and profitable growth from data. With her passion for data she evolves the creation of a data-driven culture, bringing alive data, making it relatable at all levels. She has solved problems which many organisations experience with duplicate, inconsistent and incomplete data, on multiple siloed platforms. When she is not governing data, she enjoys yoga, gardening and travelling, has a data blog ,is a STEM ambassador, mentor and a non-executive director for two charities; supporting young people and the community. Follow Liz on Twitter: @Ehdata

Copyright Liz Henderson, Independent Consultant

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