Written by Jennifer Craft, PMP
Complexity is a business killer. The longer I work in the corporate world, I hear the same statement everywhere I go. If my organization only knew what it knows we could be really successful. Between corporate politics and organizational silos created by growth and the speed of modern business, we more and more don’t know what we know. It is frustrating for customers working with larger organizations as the big wheel turns slower and slower when the speed of business is increasing exponentially with the ease and availability of massive amounts of data from multiples sources creating an environment that we can no longer see the forest through the trees. We are a victim of our own success. We add systems and process to the point that either the systems don’t communicate well enough to generate meaningful outputs or the data created exceeds the human resource capacity of the organization to be able to turn the data into action. We have segmented organizations with multiple systems that do not talk, and we are losing sales, lost opportunity and lost revenue with inefficiencies we have created. Sound familiar?
I remember a strategy meeting that I sat in once, discussing how to generate faster turnaround times for an aftermarket sales department in a newly merged company. The problem was slow turnaround times, leading to lost sales opportunities because the sales department couldn’t see all the technical and commercial data in one place to quickly get a quote out the door. There were multiple technical data systems, multiple commercial data systems, no consolidated parts catalog, lack of visibility of parts availability or a solid understanding of lead times. This was a mess. The IT road map to address the system issues was more than a year away if we were lucky and the organization was downsizing so good luck getting Human Resources to work on a data project to fix the issue. That’s if you even had the systems to support the project. Needless to say, the idea of achieving new sales or increased order entry seemed a long shot in this environment. The solution was good old hard work and try to solve the issue with the resources that were still available on a long timeline and hope for the best. This was not smart business. But it seems to be common practice in many organizations I speak with, that many times they look just like this or maybe even worse. There has to be a better way for many organizations to solve these complex data and system driven issues in today’s business. The value of solving these issues could lead to endless possible value propositions such as increased sales, decreased inventory, increased parts re-use, increased organizational efficiency and overall potential profitability. The process of Data Transformation can solve these types of problems in weeks or months instead for years for a fraction of the cost of internal teams.
What are you doing with your data? This is the question we pose to all of our clients when we meet them. The value propositions of utilizing and leveraging your organizations data are endless. The clear issue is where to get started which can seem ominous to the most advanced business leaders. The truth is, data is not hard to work with if you have the right tools and leverage strong talent and a large resource pool.
The key issue we find for organizations, big or small, when we meet with them is the time, cost, and effort of establishing a team and architecture to manage their data projects. The reality is to get up and running it takes time and resources, usually a pool of ten to thirty people to really get the architecture established, MDM setup for a unified view, governance aligned across the organization(s), and policy implemented. These are all key steps in Data Transformation Solutions (DTS) and with some agile planning upfront and Agile and/or SCRUM project methodologies, you can accomplish this goal with a small team augmented by external resources or bring in an external firm to standup your entire DTS and provide continued support or hand it off to data stewards within your company.
There are endless ways to use data to create efficiencies, reduce costs, improve revenue, or develop new strategies. Many companies are lean as far as personnel is concerned so the clear next step is to endeavor a data project to gain long term efficiencies, freeing up valuable resources to do additional work to grow and manage the organization. Resilient leaders always find new, creative ways to grow a business and overcome tough market challenges.
There are many ways to get started, depending on the key initiatives of your organization but if you need help with establishing even the launching point, the DTS experts can help you with that. Once you have established your initial goals, you can lay out an architecture to tie together your key systems, lay out a project plan, execute the plan with iterative planning (the data will drive you), improve the data using data transformation, then output key reports and analytics to take action within the organization to realize the value in the project(s).
If you have a sales team trying to compete in after market sales, a DTS project can unify the technical and commercial information to allow them to compete more quickly and efficiently. Bring together a unified view in an MDM solution and then enhance the data with harvesting and enrichment to give them the key metadata to efficiently and accurately get quotes out the door. Most importantly, to win sales before a competitor does.
This platform could then be transformed into an e-commerce interface with integrated product purchases and sales data to optimize the procurement, inventory and customer channels. Evaluate your procurement data for duplicates, near-duplicates, and reduce the amount of a same or similar item you buy to leverage buying power to drive down cost. Eliminate the costly inventory stores to more efficiently manage valuable warehouse space. Evaluate what your customers buy to more intelligently market and advertise to the individual buyer, instead of mass marketing. A shot gun blast can be useful, but a sniper shot is always more effective.
Once you have your warehouse established, the MDM tool stood up, the system of record or “golden record” and functioning, governance and policy in place, with minimal effect to the end user (let them do what they do), you can begin to analyze and evaluate your business. This unified view approach gives you the ability to drive your business with your data guiding you, giving clear insight into what is happening and where you can go. Understand where your business is excelling, where your key exposures are and new possibilities for your organization. With this single picture you can establish new strategies to ensure the health and continued growth in the challenging markets industries face across all business segments.
If you are ready to see where your data can take your organization, it is time to enlist the help of experts with decades of proven success in data projects. There are many companies that can provide some of your solutions but few that are experts in the process of data transformation, that also allows for customized solutions to phase in to your goals based on key objectives and strategy. Contact one of the RMI Services DTS experts today to get started on the future.