Data is the foundation for your business intelligence, CRM, and ERP strategy, but can you trust your data?  This may sound like a rhetorical question, but if you cannot answer that with 100% certainty, your operational, analytical, and governance strategies may be deemed to fail.  In fact, according to industry analysts, if you are not careful, data errors can reduce the effectiveness of an organization’s strategy and execution.  Ouch!

You need trusted data to make good business decisions.  And when we mean trusted data we mean more than just bringing data together or how to understand data management issues by consolidating and improving data quality; what we mean is how to do more and how to do it well?  That is the essence of establishing an enterprise information management (EIM) initiative.

Let’s start with operational initiatives.  How many of you reading this blog know the business impact of ignoring data management issues? Or understand the impact of bad data on your organization’s business processes?  Just to give you an idea, a recent TDWI research report found out that “40% of companies have suffered losses, problems, or costs due to poor quality data. About the same percentage, 43% have yet to study the issue”.  The same report showed that cost to poor quality customer data costs businesses a staggering $611 billion a year in postage, printing, and staff overhead”…Wow, that is a lot of money out of the window!

Understanding your operational initiatives means finding ways to improve business processes by fixing data related issues that impact productivity and results.  It is following best practices that help your organizations to: INTEGRATE, IMPROVE, and UNDERSTAND your data from any source, type, and application.

Second, let’s look at   EIM in support of analytical initiatives. The following is a great quote, but don’t ask me where I heard it before, because I can’t remember:  “Decisions are driven by facts and facts are driven by data”.  It makes sense right? People want is to consume reports and data analysis of business intelligence so they can make informed decisions, based on data-defined facts about their business.  Said that, the aim of EIM in analytical initiatives is to help you build trust in your business intelligence program; gain a complete 360º view of all information; and empower everyone to make better decisions.  Simply put, the role of the Analytical EIM solutions is to assure that data leads to accurate facts, which in turns leads to accurate decisions.

Finally, let’s talk about how EIM can support your governance initiatives. This is the structure that creates and enforces policies and procedures for the business use and technical management of data across the entire organization.  By including EIM solutions into your data governance initiatives, you are enabling users to share data easier, quicker, and broader.  According to TDWI, EIM and data governance complement each other very well because “data governance gives EIM process and EIM gives data governance vision”, but don’t take my word for it, read a great white paper written by Philip Russom from TDWI titled Enterprise Information Management: In Support of Operational, Analytic, and Governance Initiatives on www.sap.com/analytics.  I’ll be interested in hearing your thoughts about it.

Bill P. Rojas
Solutions Marketing Management
SAP BusinessObjects Division