Five Reasons Why Your Data is a Mess

Expert suggests why executives rarely get the answers they need from company reports

Access to data is not a problem CEOs are facing these days. Getting better data is.

According to a new survey conducted by consulting firm PricewaterhouseCoopers, more than 70% of CEOs say they aren't getting the data they need to make good choices. Seventy-four percent of those asked in the CEO Report said they lack the information necessary to anticipate customer needs.

The problem, says Arkady Kleyner, co-founder of Intricity LLC, a business intelligence and data warehousing firm, arises from five inherent flaws:

  1. There is one crucial spreadsheet on your computer that, if lost, is irreplaceable: Aside from the issue of accessibility, these spreadsheets can become outdated quickly, and are too time consuming to update manually.
  2. You hope an auditor never asks you how you calculated the numbers in your financial reports: When data has been manually aggregated and consolidated from disparate sources, tracing reported numbers back to their origins can be virtually impossible.
  3. You have a company listed in your customer database multiple times. When data is entered in different ways through different systems by different people, the task of consolidating information into a single picture can be overwhelming.
  4. The only role whose level of performance is quantified in an organization is sales: In trying to calculate ROI, it's difficult to assign a dollar value to functions that don't plug directly into revenue. Good performance management practices supported by near real-time data that can help quantify every department's impact on the bottom line.
  5. Information reports from IT is irrelevant by the time you get it: Too many company executives underestimate the effort required across the organization to produce accurate reporting. It's not uncommon for monthly reports to actually take 30 days to produce. Better information management affords everyone across the business information that is timely and relevant.

-- News & Experts Syndicate

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