How will you manage your data?

Can your existing system provide the information you need for better decision making, even if your data is complete and trusted. Can you make informed decisions?

Do you have; one or many spreadsheets / data held in many systems / duplicated inconsistent data in different systems / a rigid restrictive unreliable system!

My experience has been all four:
• Environmental specifications on products held in a number of different spreadsheets – many held locally – which were not controlled or managed to ensure they remained accurate
• Logistics information held on various local systems with no synchronisation between the systems, leading to different configurations of product packs held resulting in inaccurate reporting
• Product marketing information held in an online accessible system, with good security and access governance but no synchronisation to the product references held in the product data bible, hence numerous variations of product codes for one product appeared
• Product bible held in an access database, with a user interface. Looks good, however looks are very much deceiving. It would crash regular, requiring IT to intervene, only allow access by one user at a time, adding new fields was considered

What do you do?
Think blue sky…if panacea was available what would it do???
For example, automatically measure all products as they arrive into the Central Distribution Centre. Compare to the single version of the truth held in the system and update if appropriate creating an update advisory message to a controller.

Start with your best, even craziest ideas and work backwards to practicality and affordability.
Using my example above, what is achievable maybe to create a manual process to check new or refreshed products upon arrival and all other products on a rotation basis based on volume sold i.e bi-annually for slow moving products, 6 monthly for faster selling items.
A electronic form is sent for approval using a work flow tool. When approved system is updated from the data in the form and checked.


Create the defined and agreed list of requirements for your enhanced system and plan phases for implementation.

Consider what you need and would like in the following areas:
Data Extraction & Reporting – end user and technical needs
Report creator
Mass upload / Updates – end user and technical needs
Copy and Clone functionality of existing data
Inheritance or Hierarchy for data
Extensibility / Future proofing
Integration with other systems
Security / Methods of access
Stability and Performance
Hosting and Maintenance

There are many articles online about choosing suppliers and the best way to do this. My only advice if to be clear about what you need, what is negotiable and non-negotiable.

You are on your Data Management journey!
Share your experiences in defining requirements for a system and choosing a supplier?

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