Manage your data like your people

People are the mainstay of businesses. Without staff businesses would not exist. A whole industry has built up to address people management – how to motivate, organise, empower. In short – how to get the best out of people for the benefit of the organisation.

Most senior managers can easily predict the consequences of not managing their staff. Some would sit around doing nothing useful. Some may go off and do their own thing. Some may repeat what others are doing albeit in a different way. Some would come into conflict with others and with nobody to mediate the situation would escalate. No-one would know what they were supposed to do. In other words, chaos would ensue. Hence senior managers put people management issues very high on their agendas.

The consequences of not managing data across an organisation are very similar. Some data would just sit around doing nothing useful. Some data would get duplicated. Some data would get lost. Some data would change. Some data would become old and useless. No-one would understand anything. In short – chaos.

Given that many now aknowledge the importance of data to support the business it is curious that data management does not seem to be viewed in the same light as people management. This is most likely to be because of that old chestnut – the data quality business case which can be notoriously difficult to make. Particularly if a case must be made to satisfy the financial controllers. However if the same principles were applied to data as people….

  • Establish and communicate a vision.
  • Give people responsibility and targets.
  • Develop clear processes and procedures.
  • Organise and facillitate open communications.
  • Don’t tolerate unproductiveness.
  • Measure and monitor progress.


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1 Response to Manage your data like your people

  1. Bob Orf says:

    I always refer to data quality as two dimensional, vertical and horizontal. Vertical DQ, the relationship of records to eachother, seems like an easier one to make a financial business case for. High quality relationship matching reduces the number of “customers”, thus reducing the touchpoints which results in hard dollar savings. That will more than likely pay for the horizontal DQ issues where we focus on actual field by field accuracy, fill rates etc.

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