We are entering a time of amazing data processing capabilities. It seems there is no data volume too large or no analytical process too complex to be handled by today’s technology. Yet most organizations continue to struggle with the basic aspects of data management.
Despite all the fantastic technology and the even more fantastical hype around it, the next big thing is to finally get good at all the “old” things — many of which have little to do with technology and everything to do with people and process.
It’s time to get back to basics.
Today’s data processing capabilities are amazingly powerful, but most organizations struggle to get value from their data assets. We have the technology and a greater availability of raw data to help us. So, why aren’t we seeing value?
Because we’re looking for technology silver bullets instead of establishing long-term programs to achieve business goals. This lack of consistent excellence with the fundamentals means companies of all sizes struggle with the basics of data management. That holds them back from accomplishing higher-end goals of business performance management, business intelligence and advanced analytics.
While leading organizations — often the largest companies with the largest pocketbooks — are using the outstanding capabilities available to derive business value from their enterprise data assets, most businesses need to spend the next several years trying (or possibly trying again) to succeed at underlying data management functions such as governance and data quality management.
Back to basics
Plenty of good tools exist, but thinking the data management challenges of our organizations can be solved simply by implementing the right software is much of the reason these organizations find themselves failing again and again at analytics, business intelligence and data warehousing efforts.
So how do we get back to basics?
Perhaps the ultimate “old thing” philosophy of good business is that people and process matter much more than technology. Focus first on who will improve data management, and then have them define the various system needs. Ensure you have the team — either in-house or through your vendor or consultant network — to set the goals, build the system and processes, analyze the findings and act on the information to strengthen and grow the organization. Only then should you buy or build software as needed to meet the organization’s needs.
People are power — far more than the buttons on our machines — and that’s one of the most basic business principles we all should remember.
Aaron Fuller is the principal consultant and owner at Superior Data Strategies and is responsible for guiding clients toward reliable and valuable business solutions as it relates to their data warehousing, business intelligence and enterprise architecture programs. Fuller is skilled in dozens of software, databases and standards and methodological programs and serves as a faculty member at The Data Warehouse Institute. You can reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org on Twitter, @AaronTheDataGuy.