The Business Case of good data management

‘If you think good data is expensive, try bad data’

On Thursday November 16, RGP hosted for the third time a Round Table for Data Managers. During these meetings led by a speaker, a dozen organizations discussed subjects that are relevant to successful data management.

After discussing ‘the place of data management in the organizational structure’ (15 June) and ‘the importance of change management’ (28 September), this roundtable under the leadership of Rolf Emmens and Steven de Cocq van Delwijnen focused on the theme: ‘it was convincing from the internal sponsors theme.

The participants are engaged in a wide variety of initiatives to implement data governance and MDM tooling, monitor data quality and clean up data. However, the common denominator was the challenge for being able to present a positive quantitative Business Case. The classic ROI calculation for data management often lacks hardness and conviction. While good data is the basis for good business processes and management information (and conditional for digitization, Big Data, IoT, Predictive Analytics, …), the benefits are often difficult to quantify for the short term, something that is often a requirement to get an approved project proposal. The problem is that data management benefits the organization as a whole and is difficult to allocate to individual business units. If the benefits would fall within a single business unit, then a sponsor who wants to set up as a driver would be easy to identify.

During this Round Table, it became obvious that it is essential for an organization to develop a clear vision of good data management. Marcel van Dijk, who regularly evaluates project proposals as a financial manager, emphasized the importance of convincing the executive management of the broad benefits. Various persuasion techniques, sometimes even sales one, were discussed to get this on the stage and let it last. One of the participants illustrated his success by using a more qualitative Benefit Case internally in his argument and largely omitting the quantitative part.

Of course, this afternoon it remains undisputed that good data management is the foundation of every organization. And as Brian Foole & Joseph Yoder wrote: If you think good data is expensive, try bad data. Then we only have to choose the right way to convince everyone in the organization.

Peter Veen
Client Service Director for Information Management.


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