Two very important data doctrines are repeated often throughout Utopia projects. The first one is that operational efficiency is only as good as the data filling your business processes, like the engine in a finely tuned race car. The other one is that your reports are only as good as your data and your data practice. Used within an analogy, your reports are like a compass and what they’re really showing you: due north or not.
For example, I'd like you to think about a couple of companies that are very popular in contrast to their brick-and-mortar counterparts in different retail scenarios, which might be Borders and Barnes & Noble versus Amazon (books in general, but other products as well). Or consider iTunes versus CDs, cassette tapes, 8-track or vinyl (music, movies and other media), and then think about Netflix versus Blockbuster (primarily movies).
You'll see that there are huge differences in the way these particular types of companies leverage data, technology, and the processes around data to drive competitive advantage and create differentiators between themselves and their counterparts. Everything from marketing, pricing, customer communications, branding, content, the way the product is delivered, tracking, billing, promotions, … all quite different. All of it drives business process execution and reporting.
Data drives operational efficiencies and it drives integrity in your reporting. Some examples of those efficiencies will include creating revenue for more effective trade promotions and rebate programs or implementing cross-sell and up-sell strategies that give the right order to the right customer at the right price at the right time. This is extremely important in the “want-it-now” psyche of the modern online retail buyer, with simplicity, convenience and trust / safety in mind.
Data can also assist in introducing new and exciting products to the market faster than your competition. All of these things are enabled through the business process, people, technology, and also data.
In terms of reporting integrity, quality data builds and supports trust -- trust in the reports and then the systems that generate those reports, and trust in the decisions made based on those reports, and then the decision makers. This trust isn't just internal – it affects the end customer as well. This type of trust within a company can lead to improved morale and a sense of vision and mission, increasing user adoption of existing or new IT investments, enhancing productivity of people and systems, and other things such as managing risk and compliance issues. The external trust increase brand loyalty and repeat sales.
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