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5 Steps for Data (Anger) Management.
Healthy Data means a Healthy Business.
A New Year always means resolution time and most of us are resolved as we turn the calendar to improve our health: Eat right, more exercise, stop smoking, we all know the list. While I have no personal advice for you, I do want you to think about the health of your business – and specifically the health of your business data. Data is the lifeblood of your business and business processes.
Unhealthy data leads to stagnant workflows, siloed thinking and bad decisions.
If your data is sick, your business is sick. Sure you can still make sales, attract audiences, manage risk and stay compliant but think of all the extra effort that takes when your data is bad. Unhealthy data leads to stagnant workflows, siloed thinking and bad decisions. Kind of like if your company, metaphorically speaking, was huffing and puffing as it climbed a few flights of stairs. You made it, but it hurts.
Just like poor health, bad data hinders growth.
Good data, like good health, takes good data management. It’s not easy. Let’s take your customer data in multiple departments (Sales, Marketing, Finance operations) different geographies (local, regional, global) a myriad of systems (ERP, CRM, MDM, MarTech, AdTech) if you are like most enterprises, you have few healthy standards and could use a solid dose of well-mastered data.
Good data management can’t start until you realize you actually need it.
As *The Data Whisperer* I have identified the first five stages of any data (anger) management – I tend to focus primarily on master data about customers, prospects, vendors, suppliers, brands, products and services but this pretty much applies to any type of data:
1. DENIAL: “This can’t be happening!”
Being close to your customers does not mean that your customer data is close to right. Your head of sales will defiantly state, “We know our customers better than anyone else.” But can you easily answer questions like “who are my top customers?” Your master file is a slave to your own lack of consistency. How many ways do you identify “Walmart?” Wal*Mart, Wal Mart, Wal-mart, Wal-Mart, WMRT? It’s time to face it…head on.
2. ANGER: “Who did this?”
Trying to track multiple trade styles of a global relationship or seeing 100 variations of a customer name would get anyone upset. Before you tear your people apart, however, please realize they are torn between data maintenance and maintaining relationships. As their leader, what gets you angrier, anyway — low data quality –– or low volume?
3. BARGAINING: “We can fix it ourselves.”
“We can fix this ourselves," you think. Many others do, too. Go on and deploy your resources to formalize a strategic plan to ensure everyone inputs the word “STREET” the same way. Now, there’s a real value-added activity. Meanwhile, your competition is out increasing market share. Do you want good spelling –– or good selling?
4. DEPRESSION: “This is a disaster!”
The more relationships you have and the more data inputs you gather, the bigger the problems. Nothing feels worse than customers telling you that your view of them is wrong. They want you to have a hierarchy that reflects the way they view themselves. But you don’t…and gee…it just never seems to be right. Bummer.
5. ACCEPTANCE: “OK, we need help.”
Life is moving too fast. Thousands of companies open and close each month. Hierarchies and relationships change constantly. You can’t keep up. I know, I know. So reach out to those who understand your situation. They’ve been there. We know your pain.
IF YOU THINK YOUR SITUATION ISN’T REALLY ALL THAT BAD, PREPARE YOURSELF FOR A DATA INTERVENTION.
Healthy data makes for a healthy business. Accept it and get to Stage 5 as quickly as possible. Once you can start to apply a consistent data structure, one that connects across your business universe and is supported with the quality your organization can trust, you begin your journey to recovery. Go on, start today.