by Ray Wang.

Similar to demand signals in the supply chain for the auto industry, the flow of information via data management drives our ability to evaluate, decide, and act in our information worker economy.  Delivering relevant data to the right person, time, and place, in the appropriate context remains a key challenge MDM professionals encounter. Taking a page out of Japanese-born lean principles in supply chain, we can apply the following:

  • Eliminate redundant data via continuous improvement. Like overproduction and excess inventory, routine data quality efforts such as cleansing  is similar to eliminating waste (muda).  Instead of waiting for problems before making major changes (kaikaku), leading companies have call center agents who casually verify customer information at every interaction and supplier portals that validate shipping and billing information throughout each transaction.  These small improvements everyday area the heart of kaizen.
  • Flow data through the system pulled by the stakeholder. Lean manufacturers don’t push inventory forward; they let customer orders pull each unit through every step in the value chain.  One car company streamlines the flow of test drive requests from the website to be delivered instantaneously to the closest sales person. Customer experience a 60 minute or less response.  Any process step that hinders a smooth flow is eliminated as waste (muda).
  • Push information quality processes towards perfection. Lean companies aren’t satisfied to beat competitors, they strive for perfection by process mistake proofing (pokayoke) through the reduction of production time, errors, and inventories. Data governance and MDM efforts should focus on streamlining how data is acquired, cleansed and optimized for usage among stakeholders. This level of quality will deliver the real-time decision making that will improve an enterprise’s operations.

Tech quote: "Life is like an outer join, you never know what row to expect…"
Real life thought: “If software vendors built airplanes, would you dare to fly?”

R “Ray” Wang | Principal Analyst | Forrester Research, Inc.
950 Tower Lane, Suite 1200, Foster City, CA 94404 | (650/581-3808 | Fax: 617/613-3077 |

Warmest regards,