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The Decision Factor offers insightful comments and observations on analytics—from views on new technology approaches and market dynamics to the latest industry trends driving demand for faster, smarter information analysis. This blog contains personal views, thoughts, and opinions from SAP employees, mentors, and friends working in the area of analytics. It’s not endorsed by SAP nor does it constitute an official communication of SAP.


Get Off That IT Treadmill with a Product Management Practice

legs of people walking on treadmill

One of the consistent themes I hear from IT is that a line of business of department bought its own tool, and then handed it off to IT to support. Also, many times when we ask IT what features their internal customers want next, they really don’t know until the critical request comes to them.

Now, I get that IT resources are constrained and no one has a bunch of free time. But there is a very solid, best-practice method to get your IT department off of this critical request treadmill – Read the rest of this entry

Financial Reform: Protect Yourself with an Agile Information Architecture

Financial Reform: Protect Yourself with an Agile Information Architecture

Remember the financial meltdown? Experts still can’t decide if we’re on the road to recovery…how long that road may be…or even if there is a road. As a nation, though, we did agree to more oversight over corporate financials. Enter the Dodd-Frank legislation, passed in July 2010.

A recent USA Today article shows that after three years, there’s still much work to be done to not only establish the regulations related to the legislation, but actually implement compliance to the regulation. As of September 3, 2013, only 40% of the required 398 …

Get Your Hands Dirty, Data Scientists!

Get Your Hands Dirty, Data Scientists!

Have you read Gartner’s research note on Defining and Differentiating the Role of the Data Scientist? You can hardly read anything about enterprise information management (EIM) without bumping into the term “data scientist”. And @DataLovers tweeted just last week that data scientists are the new rock stars.


Here’s my issue. Before you can be a data scientist—conducting experiments with data and unearthing new correlations between weather, what I had for lunch, and what …

What is Dirty Data Costing You?

But is data quality really that important?

Intrinsically, you know that you need good data. But how far do you need to go? What are the real costs incurred if you DON’T have clean data?

How Bad Can it Be?

The most common data quality question is, “We’re still making money, so how bad can it really be?”

Consider the following scenario. You made the “mistake” of hiring good people. Rock stars, even. They’re smart people, and they want to make sure you keep making money. As processes break and bad reports are generated, they want to fix them. So they do. Herein lies the …

Can Information Governance Help Me Find My TV?

Can Information Governance Help Me Find My TV?

USA reported an interesting story about a musician who ordered a Westinghouse TV from Amazon (purchased from a third party provider). Some of you probably did that yourself over the holidays. He anxiously waited for the big box to arrive. Instead, a much smaller box appeared on his doorstop. Hmmm. Perhaps, he thought, this is a single component for the TV? Cables or a stand? Reasonable guesses.

Nope. Not a TV at all—instead, it was a black, semiautomatic gun. Imagine his surprise! Thankfully, the Washington, D.C. musician …

Need Help Selling Your Information Governance Initiative?

SAP_Infographic_Information Governance_3

If you’re one of the many who isn’t yet tracking metrics and constantly reporting business value achieved through your efforts, you can use the Gartner whitepaper statistic below to help you quantify results.

How many business initiatives did you undertake last year? How many delivered on time, on target, and have increasing adoption? How many do you plan to undertake next year?

Ask your CIO or program management office for these numbers—then have a discussion. If you’re normal, 40 percent of those projects will fail. Investing in the quality of the information feeding those initiatives is an imperative.

New York’s Policing Strategy Highlights Big Data Problems

Lights on Top of Police Car

Is anyone out there a fan of the new television series “Person of Interest?” In that show, a computer genius gathers big data from multiple sources (traffic cameras, crime reports, facial recognition, customs, etc.) to determine who is about to commit a crime *and* stop them from committing it. I’ve been meaning to write about the show for a while, as the data management challenges are rampant—then New York said they were trying to actually do it. Wow.

Short run-down from the newspaper …

Data Decay Can Silently Cripple Your Business

Changes_in_US_Business_Information recently published a nice data decay infographic (a small version is included at the end of this post), that shows the level of master data change for business information. Why is understanding data decay essential? Many times organizations think that if they establish a huge, one-time effort to clean up their key master data elements, they won’t need to do it again.

Not true, as the infographic demonstrates. Your data can decay over time. Addresses and zip codes are always changing because of postal authorities. People move and change jobs …

Holding Out for an Information Governance Hero

Holding out for a hero

In talking to customers last week, they again reinforced that information governance success is still on the horizon for each of them—and these were companies that had a dedicated data governance organization in place for years! Here are some of the key barriers still affecting most customers I talk to, and some general guidance on how to overcome them.

Points for you, if you can identify some lyrics or the artist in my song choices—or if you can think of a better one!

Stayin’ Alive

They’re already very good at manually moving data and making it fit-for-use. As a consequence, …

Talent Retention Is Directly Related to EIM Success

Group of people

This week I talked to two different customers who were going through organizational pain. In both cases, they had strong management who understood the value of truly treating information as an enterprise asset and, as a result, had the following in place:

Data governance organizations Metrics and score card initiatives A program vs. a project mindset toward information problems—after all, you can’t just clean your house once and expect to never do it again

However, the strong EIM management at each of company is leaving. The question is, what happens next? Can the initiatives survive without their spokesperson? Will the …