A manufacturing president once asked me to come in because she was frustrated by how the company was managing critical data and she wanted to figure out what they were doing wrong. I prepared three questions that would get the discussion started:
- Can you quantify the value of leveraging your critical data?
- Have you identified what is your “critical data” and where it lives?
- If you have identified your most critical data, do you know if it’s accurate?
She paused for a few seconds before answering. “No, no and no.” Then an expletive.
More people like this CEO have bought into the premise that smartly managing data should enable a company to establish a legitimate competitive edge. When this posture is taken, being able to answer “yes” to the above three questions becomes really important. A data strategy can’t be successfully executed if one of the answers is “no.”
Why can’t companies do better managing their data? One reason is “data” is deflected by many executives to the IT department to manage along with cyber-security. Executives should first focus on job descriptions and role definitions, since this is where the problem starts.
People in IT are not data stewards; they are data custodians. As custodians, IT staff should primarily be concerned with making data secure and available. They don’t necessarily understand the business around specific data well enough to know how sensitive it is or how available it needs to be. Data stewards, a.k.a. business users, have to tell them this, which happens less frequently than it should. Why? Because senior management hasn’t declared that it’s an important internal line of communication. They’re still stuck on associating data with technology management instead of business impact.
Effectively managing critical information certainly enhances an organization’s value. As such, it should be a core oversight responsibility of top management. In this information-driven, hyper-connected world, companies that embed careful, creative, smart handling of data in their value propositions and various strategies will greatly improve their competitive strength.
No business is immune to the potential negative effects of information overload. Therefore, executives should be developing a formal plan to effectively manage and efficiently access this growing mountain of data within the facility and remotely. “There isn’t a plan” won’t help maintain progress in this present public health, economic and social crisis. Take action now because, what you “no” can hurt you. Contact Triple Helix to schedule a consultation to discover how your business could benefit by saying “yes.”