Data is the new Black

6 minute read

Have you ever considered to put a price tag on your company data? What would it be? Equal to the value of your company? Greater? Less? Having good data quality is essential and it can easily be a key ingredient in adding value to your company.

Let’s look at it first from a more traditional point of view; siloed organisation, non-integrated business operations, old legacy back-end systems – these all are data jargon from the 90’s. For some reason, I have noticed that those have still remained in many conversations among the customers and companies we talk with. I have tried to understand why… Organisational change is needed in any case to move away from this, and it is the Big Thing. This change can be painful for years, yet it doesn’t go away by just rearranging the chairs and seating order. This change begins with the right kind of attitude. “We really want a change!” “We want to do things better!”

It doesn’t mean that every company should make a statement that says: “All of our employees are salespeople!!” I’m not even sure if that is a goal every company should be aiming at, close though. Why not start with a more simple idea. Each employee has a right to know what we are doing with our customers because our customers are our biggest advocates, and we should treat them respectfully.

Doesn’t it irritate you as a customer when you have to explain your requests over and over again? Personally, the second time I have to repeat my request or issue, I ask them this question: “Don’t you have a modern CRM in the company, because I have already told the same to your colleague?” Guess what, your customers share that feeling.

All it takes is good quality and transparent data. With today’s technology, it’s not even rocket science, nor does it cost you a fortune. An Account is an Account. It’s not our Sales’ Account or our Professional Services’ Account. Although we may share different interest areas within the Account, we should ensure that data is unique and shared. This would be the time and place to talk about Master Data Management and organised Data Governance, but I’ll leave those for the next occasion.

Now that we all have this understanding that data should be common, shared and unique, I want to raise a few thoughts on the ever-important data security. How usual is it that a supplier requests some sample data? How common is it that you reply to that request with a few hundred or even thousands of your live Account data? The scariest story I have ever heard was about a company in the B2C business that sent a full copy of their customer data with social security numbers, credit card details, and so on to a supplier. Of course, NDAs and confidentiality agreements are in place, yet it takes only one rotten apple. The supplier doesn’t really need your real live data but a sample of it. Data does not have to contain true names or addresses, or credit card numbers. Again, today’s technologies support data masking and securing your most valuable asset – your data.

Last but not least, an honest question – how much money are you spending annually on creating usable test data for your developers? I know our certified professionals certainly do it for our customers. Some more frequently than the others. Test data is needed for developers to test their work done in a sandbox with some sample data. Again, real-live data is not needed and most likely not even used. Funnily enough, real live data is given with open hands to some suppliers, but on the other hand, it is very restricted what data the company’s own personnel can access. In larger implementations, there may be people concentrating on the development of, for example, customer service-related processes and other project management processes. The same data package does not fit them both, but both will eventually need some sample data. Again, today’s modern technology is capable of pulling subsets of the actual live data, masking it and deliver to sandboxes for testing. All it takes is just a few mouse clicks.

Today’s technological solutions provide a full variety of possibilities to work efficiently and safely with your unique data. Whether to consolidate data from several sources into one golden record and deliver that onwards or just simply ensure your local Salesforce database is not corrupted with duplicate records. Informatica Cloud has several solutions that are recognised by leading analysts. They helped thousands of customers to transform from application-centric customer solutions to a more data-centric approach. While the initial Salesforce implementation evolves to deploying more clouds, global locations, and most importantly, integrating new cloud technology with old legacy back-end systems. Just to support the business, no one gets away without protecting and maintaining their data integrity. I’d say, Data is the new black.

Cloud-based technology that creates one place to store and deliver unique golden data records without human touch or manual interactions exists as we speak. And you don’t even have to be an IT specialist to maintain it. Every one of us may use just a simple pen and paper method to calculate the cost of duplicates in the database, time spent on re-entering the same records over and over again, and -oops- again duplicates, triplicates, and… hiring a summer employee to clean the database manually – to gain what? Perhaps a good quality customer database for one day in a year. Not to mention how well you are able to sleep your nights knowing that any development project uses masked data and true data integrity is there. That you may also add on your piece of paper.

If you feel like you want to solve this important and costly issue in your company, we are here for you! Informatica Cloud solutions we represent and implement can be just the solution you need. Contact me if you’d like to hear more!

Hannele Koivu

Business Development Manager


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