informa
/
2 min read
article

BI Starts With Data

The best business intelligence tools in the market are nothing but lines of code without good data. But how does an organization know whether the information it has sitting in multiple data stores spread across its operations is the real bottleneck to rapid access to comprehensive, consistent data?
The best business intelligence tools in the market are nothing but lines of code without good data. But how does an organization know whether the information it has sitting in multiple data stores spread across its operations is the real bottleneck to rapid access to comprehensive, consistent data?Ventana Research has identified the symptoms of bad data that prevent improvements in business processes and performance. The warning signs are when business analysts spend more time reconciling data than analyzing it, and when it takes weeks, instead of days, to close financial books.

Other symptoms include not being able to quickly figure out spending with suppliers across divisions, or whether two customers that appear different are actually one and the same. As mentioned in last week's newsletter, over-dependence on spreadsheets is a problem sign, particularly if you can't tell whose spreadsheet is correct.

A company also needs to check the quality of its data when there are no central records for R&D throughout the organization, there are inconsistent charts of accounts, and it's unclear who is responsible for maintaining information quality.

The list goes on, but if you recognize more than a couple of the symptoms in your company, then it's probably time for the organization to look at master data management tools.

IBM recently unveiled two major offerings in the space, the WebSphere Product Center and the WebSphere Customer Center, which were built on technology obtained in the acquisition of Trigo and DWL, respectively.

Both products are meant to rid businesses of the disparate, application-specific data silos that lead to inconsistent information and other irregularities. Instead, the MDM tools offer a company-wide repository that cleans incoming data.

But don't expect either of the products to be cheap. As one customer said, "It wasn't a huge additional cost. But it wasn't free either."

Drop me an email to let me know what you think.