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Blog: Jill Dyché Subscribe to this blog's RSS feed!

Jill Dyché

There you are! What took you so long? This is my blog and it's about YOU.

Yes, you. Or at least it's about your company. Or people you work with in your company. Or people at other companies that are a lot like you. Or people at other companies that you'd rather not resemble at all. Or it's about your competitors and what they're doing, and whether you're doing it better. You get the idea. There's a swarm of swamis, shrinks, and gurus out there already, but I'm just a consultant who works with lots of clients, and the dirty little secret - shhh! - is my clients share a lot of the same challenges around data management, data governance, and data integration. Many of their stories are universal, and that's where you come in.

I'm hoping you'll pour a cup of tea (if this were another Web site, it would be a tumbler of single-malt, but never mind), open the blog, read a little bit and go, "Jeez, that sounds just like me." Or not. Either way, welcome on in. It really is all about you.

About the author >

Jill is a partner co-founder of Baseline Consulting, a technology and management consulting firm specializing in data integration and business analytics. Jill is the author of three acclaimed business books, the latest of which is Customer Data Integration: Reaching a Single Version of the Truth, co-authored with Evan Levy. Her blog, Inside the Biz, focuses on the business value of IT.

Editor's Note: More articles and resources are available in Jill's BeyeNETWORK Expert Channel. Be sure to visit today!

In which Jill reiterates the importance of data profiling for those who might be new to the process.

If you ever really want advice-and I mean good, solid, sit-down-and-breath-it-in advice-talk to someone who's failed. It seems counterintuitive since we all expect to find nirvana by sitting at the feet of the master-du-jour. But there's a lot to be learned from someone who's fallen and stayed on the ground awhile.

Sometimes it takes hitting the wall before we really understand the impact of bad data. Once upon a time, Hershey's put a bad UPC code on a lot of chocolate bars. The UPC code was invalid. So when the consumer went to buy a candy bar, it wouldn't scan. Now anyone who's ever had a chocolate craving understands the calamity of a situation like this. Customers in the throes of a major craving could be found begging the grocery store clerk to manually enter the UPC code, and guess the price. Suffice it to say, this is the opposite of customer delight.

As an enthusiastic consumer of Hershey products, what comes to mind is the sprint back to the chocolate aisle (aisle 7, left side middle at my local grocer) for a replacement. The business side of me considers the impact of the bad UPC codes on the store's inventory. And the number of consumer calls the Hershey call center had to field. And the re-production of all those labels. The costs were likely tangible and intangible.

The point is that it usually takes real, bona-fide, costly business pain in order for managers to realize that bad, incorrect, or missing data had a true, tangible financial impact to the business, and to customer loyalty.

My friend Susan B., who's a really good mom by anyone's standards, refers often to a book called, "The Blessing of the Skinned Knee." The book talks about how sometimes our kids have to feel pain in order to learn those hard-won lessons. We've all hit the skids, but those of us with the actual scars have more interesting stories to tell. And maybe a bit more wisdom to share.

Posted June 29, 2006 11:46 AM
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