Here are the questions:
1. Can we quantify the value tied to better leveraging of the company’s important data?
2. In fact, can we even identify what our most critical data is and all the places it resides?
3. If we have identified our most critical data, are we confident in its accuracy?
Few businesses on the planet can strongly answer “yes” to all three. In reality, the large majority have to answer “no” to all three. But a shift is happening. There is a clear realization, particularly at the executive level, that competitive disadvantage awaits companies who remain data laggards.
Just like with cybersecurity, this is primarily not a tech issue, and those that think it is will be answering “no” to the above 3 questions for quite some time. This is a strategy issue, as in “what can be done with all the data we’ve accumulated for years to win more deals?”
No doubt, information overload has become a big problem. No company is immune to it. And no company can avoid a future of exponential increases in the amount of data created and collected. Therefore, it’s no longer a matter of if, but when, a serious plan to manage it all should be developed.
If you buy into the notion that companies which are good at managing their data establish clear competitive strength, then getting better positioned to start answering “yes” to these 3 questions becomes especially important.
Another thing to consider: Accurately assessing your own situation is difficult, if not impossible. Sometimes an internal discussion that’s facilitated by an objective, outside specialist can be a great way to get started. An independent 2nd set of eyes can be very beneficial when analyzing a complex issue such as company-wide data management.