The Enterprise Approach to Data – Better than a Sleeping Pill

February 23, 2011
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Insomnia_2 Do you know where your financial data was last night? Sure, you know the operational and financial systems that it was in, but who else played with it before it got into your financial reports?

Insomnia_2 Do you know where your financial data was last night? Sure, you know the operational and financial systems that it was in, but who else played with it before it got into your financial reports? What undocumented IT processes (horrors!) extracted data, manipulated it and then input into another system? And how many spreadsheets did the data get imported into, changed and then passed along to another spreadsheet?

Just the thought of it makes me want to wash my hands with strong soap.

It would be humorous if this was just happening to your competitors’ data. But it’s happening to yours. And it’s keeping your CFO up at night.

In my last post on good data I introduced the concept of enterprise data management (EDM). I hope you were paying attention, because this is where a concept like EDM, where the business takes ownership of the data in cooperation with the IT group, starts to really pay off. You see, it’s only with an enterprise approach using EDM that you can really gain management effectiveness, corporate governance, and organizational alignment that impact the value of an enterprise.

How can EDM help your CFO (and everyone else) get some shut-eye? Because it arms them with the data they need to be strategic advisors to the business. 

In the short run, it lets them do things like crank through the monthly planning and forecasting cycle in days instead of weeks. Shifting from a spreadsheet-based manual systems, prone with manual reconciliations, to a system with an EDM foundation yields not only auditable data but increases the finance group’s productivity by enabling analysis rather than spreadsheet paralysis.  

In the long run, it gives a strong foundation for future growth, including mergers and acquisitions. It allows finance to have a more holistic view of the business – understanding what drives the business, not just how it operates from a financial perspective. It enables CFOs to examine the details behind the financial reports such as what products, customers or geographies are driving sales growth and profitability, as well as, which are laggards.

And, of course, EDM makes achieving compliance much easier.

EDM helps get the right data to the right people at the right time so they can analyze corporate performance and act on it, not spend their time hunting and gathering. EDM enables staff to shift from reaction mode where they spend their time determining what happened, to a proactive stance where they focus on increasing strategic advantages. The long-term benefit is to enable your staff to be a strategic advisor to your business.

Does enterprise data management matter? Just ask your sleep-deprived CFO.