Feb 012013

One of the biggest mistakes that business leaders make when it comes to technology is to focus their priorities and initiatives on projects that sidelines corporate data at the expense of implementing the next new technology. Executives and employees alike lose sight of what is important because they are not aware that there are options. Millions of dollars are spent on the latest system, application, development methodology, or software platform often takes center stage. But what a lot of people don’t realize is that after all the millions of dollars spent, it will still come down to the same simple fact that your corporate data IS your business – it is the lifeblood of your company. You need the right data to provide excellent customer service, to order new products, to market and sell new products, to track your finances, to raise capital, etc. It really is this simple. So, why do companies get so side-tracked and confused over this very basic point? That is the million dollar question.

After over 20 years in business, I have come to this simple conclusion: people are confused between the difference between data, process, and technology. A data centric business approach still does not exist in most companies or in most industries despite the billions of dollars spent on technology and IT departments. Instead, a software, technology, and process methods take center stage. While process is very important as well as the software that employees use on a regular basis, a data centered approach works regardless of the software platform, the handheld gizmo used, or the latest process the customer service manager implements or the sales director mandates to their sales force. If you have a quality data driven approach everyone is happier such as;

  • The business development executive will have accurate finance data to spin off the product line that no longer matches their long term business goals.
  • The field employee has the information to find the customers residence without driving to a corn field,
  • The sales person’s order is actually processed on time according to the specifications provided by the customer.

Of course this is only true if your data has integrity and your software accesses the right data at the right times for your employees. By no means is this an easy task. But without a data centered approach, it becomes a daunting, if not impossible task. Bottom-line: You must have a data centric approach if you want to become an efficient, well run company that truly maximizes its profit earning potential.

There are people in many organizations that understand this. So, why is it so hard for them to implement it across their organizations? Besides the general confusion over what data actually is, taking the time to understand and model your data is hard unglamorous work. It requires a good understanding of your business which is lacking in many departments within organizations. Also, your technology vendors and your hired experts make much more money selling you expensive software solutions and new gadgets and gizmos. To make matters worse, the business people who benefit most from having the data at their fingertips have determined it’s too confusing, too much effort, and would much rather have the IT folks deal with the data.

But, if a data centered approach is so difficult to understand and a lot of effort to implement, why would it be worth the investment? First, it forces everyone involved to understand their business and how the data is being used to achieve your business objectives. Second, it is fundamentally a simple concept. It can simplify your processes and your business functions if applied properly. This approach works with any technology (agnostic of platforms, vendors, hardware, software, and development methodology). It also simplifies the process used to define your IT needs. Knowledge of technology is not necessary until you are ready to discuss development options. Lastly and most importantly, in the long run, it’s less expensive to implement a data centric approach then the alternatives.

If a data centered approach is confusing to you or you would like to understand how this concept can be used to benefit your business, contact us at Galex Consulting . We can help you understand this concept. We can also provide seminars to help educate you and your employees.