Master Data Quality, Governance and Management
During one of my client’s implementation, I met very good sales people to whom I had to sell the idea of Data Standards, Quality and Governance.
This was due to the fact that in their current landscape, data was entered in any format wished for. Their used to be new customers and materials creation all the time without checking duplicates (whether such customer or material) was already created in system. The first reason I got that search functionality of SAP ECC is not very good. The second reason was that it’s very hard to find the right customer or material as of now since there are already so many customers and materials with same parameter. Over the period of time there are so many duplicates in system that it’s hard to choose the right customer or material. After looking into their system I was shocked to see the that either or all of Name 2, Name 3, and Name 4 has address details and fields like street was empty. For some Street data was filled. Street has the city details. City field has District, region or even country. For some customers though rare cases, data was properly maintained. One good thing was there that one of their systems was following standard procedure and had governance mechanism. The data was 90% correct in that system. However it also had scope of duplicates and some of wrong details.
One of the challenge was definitely was the Data Standards. While creating the Customer Master data, as far as possible, they should enter the data in respective fields only and in correct format. One of the beautiful questions was that why this MDM is required since day to day work activities are being carried out as usually. He was very right since the organization was able to carry the business. However there was some challenges and gaps which I had to highlight in that meeting.
The other challenge was management was not able to get the correct information for the customers and not able to utilize the customer base to expand the product profiles by cross selling products.
One of their pain point was that if someone entered wrong pin-code and right city (since they don’t know the correct pin-code), then the shipment reaches wrong location. This is because the courier delivery is based on pin-codes. After this shipment comes back, the correct details are tried to be found either by calling the customer directly or getting this information from sales person. The correct pin-code is then again passed to Courier Company and the shipment gets finally delivered. This whole exercise leads to increased shipment cost, increased delivery time and most importantly customer dissatisfaction.
For the Duplicates, I took a very simple approach. I asked for our sales person mobile phone and went to his contacts folder. As expected, he was using company name as prefix or suffix. I asked simple question to him that if you have many contacts with common name, how you identify that you always call the right contact. He answered that I use company name along with contact name to distinguish between contacts. My another question was then that without adding company name, how he will recognize which is right contact to call until he remember his contact number (which is not possible). By this, he already understood that by not adding company name, he might have to call all contacts by same name to talk to right contact and dissipate lot of time and money in this.
For the Data Quality, I was simply confused and also amazed by looking at scattered data. I explained if the right data would have been entered in right fields with the help of standards, validation checks, processes and little governance then system would be in better shape and maybe we not a reason to meet.
I was sincerely thankful to be part of such engagement and learning experience and finally able to solve their problems. It’s such an amazing feeling to be part of such challenging assignments and help customers with the right solutions. This is what provides the fire to be part of such requirements.