Managing internal data effectively

Pick the hill to climb and the route carefully

Companies are swimming in data. Lots of data that’s created. And even more that’s coming from somewhere outside. This post is focused on the data that you are actually creating.

Let’s take the example of a product list. Most departments in your company probably use the product list. Each month there might be an update that’s posted somewhere. Or there’s a website that runs off a database very few people can actually update.

Is everyone working from the same sheet? Hopefully everyone’s using the same price, from the price list. John, your sales guy in the Northwest region is traveling all the time. He pulls his price list every so often, stores it on his laptop, so he’s got it handy. What are the chances that list is current?

What happens after the product list is published? Likely, each group using that list compares it to what they had before, and some poor newbie in the department has to figure out what materially changed (ex. new products, different product options). Marketing needs to figure out which section of the website this is going to show up in. Or finance determines which category sales for a new product roll up into. Sales figures out how to push the product and what the commission structure will be.

Are they still working off the same sheet? Once each department incorporates their changes, now they have their own product list, with the additional attributes they create. That’s the one the department VP wants everyone using, since they got burned once and are determined to get their people using the same data. Only they don’t realize they are contributing to the problem, with good intentions.

Is it electronics or office equipment? Departments will classify things differently, sometimes because 2 different people are working on it and sometimes because each group has their own needs. But it doesn’t help the customer, when the customer finds it on the website under electronics and the invoice says office equipment, because different groups are run those parts of the organization.

I need it ASAP, how about you? You can only launch the product once the website is showing it — otherwise, how will customers get more information on it? So the marketing department is part of the product launch. Finance reports the results monthly internally for executives. So the product list from finance may not show the product till week 2. Marketing will have it on day 1. Timing differences crop up all the time.

Posting the data on some cloud provider doesn’t solve the problem. Implementing some mega database doesn’t solve it. It starts with communication, and determining how to coordinate. Understanding the issues that result and why. Creating solutions that work for the end-user. If you are trying to solve the problem, pick which problem you are really solving. And how to go about it so your solution sticks! We at Qvikly are focused on solving this problem.

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