Category Archives: Master Data Management
The Surprising Link Between Hurricanes and Strawberry Pop-Tarts: Brought to you by Clean, Consistent and Connected Data
What do you think Wal-Mart’s best-seller is right before a hurricane? If you guessed water like I did, you’d be wrong. According to this New York Times article, “What Wal-Mart Knows About Customers’ Habits” the retailer sells 7X more strawberry Pop-Tarts in Florida right before a hurricane than any other time. Armed with predictive analytics and a solid information management foundation, the team stocks up on strawberry Pop-Tarts to make sure they have enough supply to meet demand.
I learned this fun fact from Andrew Donaher, Director of Information Management Strategy at Groundswell Group, a consulting firm based in western Canada that specializes in information management services. In this interview, Andy and I discuss how IT leaders can increase the value of data to drive business value, explain how some IT leaders are collaborating with business leaders to improve predictive analytics, and share advice about how to talk to business leaders, such as the CFO about investing in an information management strategy.
Q. Andy, what can IT leaders do to increase the value of data to drive business value?
A. Simply put, each business leader in a company needs to focus on achieving their goals. The first step IT leaders should take is to engage with each business leader to understand their long and short-term goals and ask some key questions, such as:
- What type of information is critical to achieving their goals?
- Do they have the information they need to make the next decision or take the next best action?
- Is all the data they need in house? If not, where is it?
- What challenges are they facing when it comes to their data?
- How much time are people spending trying to pull together the information they need?
- How much time are people spending fixing bad data?
- How much is this costing them?
- What opportunities exist if they had all the information they need and could trust it?
Q. How are IT leaders collaborating with business partners to improve predictive analytics?
A. Wal-Mart’s IT team collaborated with the business to improve the forecasting and demand planning process. Once they found out what was important, IT figured out how to gather, store and seamlessly integrate external data like historical weather and future weather forecasts into the process. This enabled the business to get more valuable insights, tailor product selections at particular stores, and generate more revenue.
Q. Why is it difficult for IT leaders to convince business leaders to invest in an information management strategy?
A. In most cases, business leaders don’t see the value in an information management strategy or they haven’t seen value before. Unfortunately this often happens because IT isn’t able to connect the dots between the information management strategy and the outcomes that matter to the business.
Business leaders see value in having control over their business-critical information, being able to access it quickly and to allocate their resources to get any additional information they need. Relinquishing control takes a lot of trust. When IT leaders want to get buy-in from business leaders to invest in an information management strategy they need to be clear about how it will impact business priorities. Data integration, data quality and master data management (MDM) should be built into the budget for predictive or advanced analytics initiatives to ensure the data the business is relying on is clean, consistent and connected.
Q: You liked this quotation from an IT leader at a beer manufacturing company, “We don’t just make beer. We make beer and data. We need to manage our product supply chain and information supply chain equally efficiently.”
A.What I like about that quote is the IT leader was able to connect the dots between the primary revenue generator for the company and the role data plays in improving organizational performance. That’s something that a lot of IT leaders struggle with. IT leaders should always be thinking about what’s the next thing they can do to increase business value with the data they have in house and other data that the company may not yet be tapping into.
Q. According to a recent survey by Gartner and the Financial Executives Research Foundation, 60% of Chief Financial Officers (CFOs) are investing in analytics and improved decision-making as their #1 IT priority. What’s your advice for IT Leaders who need to get buy-in from the CFO to invest in information management?
A. Read your company’s financial statements, especially the Management Discussion and Analysis section. You’ll learn about the company’s direction, what the stakeholders are looking for, and what the CFO needs to deliver. Offer to get your CFO the information s/he needs to make decisions and to deliver. When you talk to a CFO about investing in information management, focus on the two things that matter most:
- Risk mitigation: CFOs know that bad decisions based on bad information can negatively impact revenue, expenses and market value. If you have to caveat all your decisions because you can’t trust the information, or it isn’t current, then you have problems. CFOs need to trust their information. They need to feel confident they can use it to make important financial decisions and deliver accurate reports for compliance.
- Opportunity: Once you have mitigated the risk and can trust the data, you can take advantage of predictive analytics. Wal-Mart doesn’t just do forecasting and demand planning. They do “demand shaping.” They use accurate, consistent and connected data to plan events and promotions not just to drive inventory turns, but to optimize inventory and the supply chain process. Some companies in the energy market are using accurate, consistent and connected data for predictive asset maintenance. By preventing unplanned maintenance they are saving millions of dollars, protecting revenue streams, and gaining health and safety benefits.
To do either of these things you need a solid information management plan to manage clean, consistent and connected information. It takes a commitment but the pays offs can be very significant.
Q. What are the top three business requirements when building an information management and integration strategy?
A: In my experience, IT leaders should focus on:
- Business value: A solid information management and integration strategy that has a chance of getting funded must be focused on delivering business value. Otherwise, your strategy will lack clarity and won’t drive priorities. If you focus on business value, it will be much easier to gain organizational buy-in. Get that dollar figure before you start anything. Whether it is risk mitigation, time savings, revenue generation or cost savings, you need to calculate that value to the business and get their buy-in.
- Trust: When people know they can trust the information they are getting it liberates them to explore new ideas and not have to worry about issues in the data itself.
- Flexibility: Flexibility should be banked right into the strategy. Business drivers will evolve and change. You must be able to adapt to change. One of the most neglected, and I would argue most important, parts of a solid strategy is the ability to make continuous small improvements that may require more effort than a typical maintenance event, but don’t create long delays. This will be very much appreciated by the business. We work with our clients to ensure that this is addressed.
Beyond our wildest expectations—not to mention our original room reservations—the Third MDM Day event on February 19th was a tremendous success, a “three-peat” if you will. Expecting 100 attendees, we had nearly 500 registrations and a crowd of 350 who braved the weather, including a quarter of whom traveled from outside the tri-state area, to join us in New York City for a wall-to-wall day of MDM discussion and presentations.
I have the pleasure of boasting that Informatica was positioned as a leader on the latest Forrester Wave™ Report covering MDM Solutions. We are so pleased in fact, that we want to share the report with you – for free.
Click on the link below to receive a free copy of the full Forrester Research report, The Forrester Wave™: Master Data Management Solutions, Q1 2014.
The report used a combination of four data sources to assess the strengths and weaknesses of selected solutions:
- Hands-on lab evaluations
- Vendor surveys
- Product demos
- Customer reference calls
The vendors were chosen based on product fit, customer success and Forrester client demand. The report evaluated vendors on 65 criteria which were grouped in three high-level categories – current offering, strategy and market presence.
Informatica was noted for our strength in mastering and integrating data. The report noted that we “define the master domain across the data ecosystem.” In their interviews with customers, Forrester reported, “Customers purchasing Informatica MDM are often looking for an out-of-the-box solution to solve particularly complex business challenges impacted by master data.” They noted that Informatica’s specialization “helps customers link master data management to business outcomes.”
As a service provider, we were particularly pleased with the results of Forrester’s calls with our clients. After all, the proof of a truly superior product is in its day-to-day, real-world operation. The reports states, “Informatica continues to compete and increasingly closes sales in head-to-head reviews. Clients state its strengths are configurability, scalability, performance, and understanding of the business impact.”
But please, read it for yourself! We want to share this good news by offering a free copy of the Forrester Wave™ Report, Q1 2014. We have built a great team here at Informatica and we proudly believe that the study results support our approach and performance.
Want to see why Informatica is riding high about the results? Click here.
The transition to value-based care is well underway. From healthcare delivery organizations to clinicians, payers, and patients, everyone feels the impact. Each has a role to play. Moving to a value-driven model demands agility from people, processes, and technology. Organizations that succeed in this transformation will be those in which:
- Collaboration is commonplace
- Clinicians and business leaders wear new hats
- Data is recognized as an enterprise asset
The ability to leverage data will differentiate the leaders from the followers. Successful healthcare organizations will:
1) Establish analytics as a core competency
2) Rely on data to deliver best practice care
3) Engage patients and collaborate across the ecosystem to foster strong, actionable relationships
Trustworthy data is required to power the analytics that reveal the right answers, to define best practice guidelines and to identify and understand relationships across the ecosystem. In order to advance, data integration must also be agile. The right answers do not live in a single application. Instead, the right answers are revealed by integrating data from across the entire ecosystem. For example, in order to deliver personalized medicine, you must analyze an integrated view of data from numerous sources. These sources could include multiple EMRs, genomic data, data marts, reference data and billing data.
A recent PWC survey showed that 62% of executives believe data integration will become a competitive advantage. However, a July 2013 Information Week survey reported that 40% of healthcare executives gave their organization only a grade D or F on preparedness to manage the data deluge.
What grade would you give your organization?
You can improve your organization’s grade, but it will require collaboration between business and IT. If you are in IT, you’ll need to collaborate with business users who understand the data. You must empower them with self-service tools for improving data quality and connecting data. If you are a business leader, you need to understand and take an active role with the data.
To take the next step, download our new eBook, “Potential Unlocked: Transforming healthcare by putting information to work.” In it, you’ll learn:
- How to put your information to work
- New ways to govern your data
- What other healthcare organizations are doing
- How to overcome common barriers
So go ahead, download it now and let me know what you think. I look forward to hearing your questions and comments….oh, and your grade!
Inspired by the fact I was coming home from a business trip on Valentine’s Day.
Money makes the world go round
In the UK Valentine’s Day ranks behind Halloween, Mother’s Day, Easter and Christmas. British men spend 622m GBP, while women spend 354m. But the average purchase is 119 GBP. Germans for example only spend 59 GBP per person. According to a survey 53 per cent of US women will dump their boyfriends who do not give them anything on this day. China invented the singles day, where 3.5b GBP have been spend in 2013. A lot Americans spend money for pet gifts generating 227m of sales on Valentine’s Day.
All you need is love?
No, all you need is the right product to sell. Retailers use a wide range of an eclectic product to sell around this day, ranging from flowers to insurance and ecigaretts. IKEA Australia made furniture relevant for love with offering a free purchase for every child born nine months from Valentine’s Day.
What GfK and Google research say
In February Google searches showed a peak for recipes and poems. According to GfK, 81 per cent are using coupons when doing the purchase for Valentine.
Where and what to shop
Supermarkets have wrapped up to be the one-stop shop for lovers in a rush. Sainsbury reports a 12 per cent growth in sales of condoms. But did you know the top 8 gift ranking?
1. Cards and eCards
3. Romantic dinners at restaurants
4. Romantic dinners at home (a condom and candles could be the perfect cross-sell to the wine and the recipe – or you plan to get pay-back from IKEA as mentioned above )
6. Jewel leery
8. Weekends away
Sorry, but I will note tell you what I bring home for my wife. But did you know Informatica World offers a retail path this year? Long tail, ecommerce, from retail to me-tail, supply chain optimization and customer centricity and interesting company speakers are on the agenda.
Our blog frequently provides best practice stories of our customers using product information management (PIM) for their business model. This case is about the “long tail strategy” at Kramp.
Tines, hand tools, spare parts for agricultural machines and hydraulic motors are the order of the day at Kramp. Kramp, based in the Netherlands, is Europe’s largest wholesaler of accessories and spare parts for motorized equipment, agricultural and construction machines. The company’s business model and e-commerce strategy is exemplary. Kramp is using product information management (PIM) for their long tail strategy in e-commerce.
Kramp’s Value Proposition: “It’s that easy”
“We want to make it easier for our customers, partners and suppliers. We believe in the future and the power of e-commerce”, said CEO Eddie Perdok. Kramp grew the product assortment from about 200,000 to 1,000,000+ items from about 2,000 suppliers.
Previous stock policies in mail order retail always meant having limited space. In the catalog there were only a certain number of pages available. Even the logistics were limited – warehouse storage limited the possibilities so much that the majority of companies tried to find the “perfect catalog range” with the largest number of bestsellers.
The Digital Assortment Has No Limits
“Compared to other sales channels, the internet gives us significant cost advantages”, says Eddie Perdok. The digital department store consists of servers that can be easily extended at any time.
Adding a new product requires no more than a few additional entries in a database. The challenge is that the product data must be obtained from the suppliers and then distributed before products can be presented in a shop. The range is therefore often limited because the product data cannot be efficiently updated and sale is lost to other vendors are retailers.
Europe’s largest wholesaler of spare parts for agricultural machines and accessories focuses on managing all product data from a central data source for all sales channels and languages.
Customer and supplier feedback is an important factor
“We want to bring customer opinion and supplier knowledge together”, explains Eddie Perdock. “Online customer evaluation combined with the knowledge of the manufacturer puts us in the position of being able to optimally control our stock”. In e-commerce, vendors, retailers and customers are coming closer and closer together.
Benefits Kramp realized with PIM on their long tail strategy
- Quick ROI due to short implementation phases
- Better customer satisfaction due to optimal data quality
- Higher margins and turnover in e-commerce due to niche items in long tail
- Easy, professional handling of mass data lowers process costs
- Short product introduction times to new markets
You can learn more on using PIM for long tail business on the entire case study or hear Ronald Renskers, Manager Product Content at Kramp, and others talking on the latest video.
Massively increasing the assortment is one of the top trends retailers and distributors focus on, according to Forrester Principal Analyst, Sucharita Mulpuru. Forrester’s research shows that retailers’ biggest competition are brands that sell directly to consumers. Marketplaces like Amazon result in higher margins, according to Forrester and www.pim-roi.com.
Maybe the word “death” is a bit strong, so let’s say “demise” instead. Recently I read an article in the Harvard Business Review around how Big Data and Data Scientists will rule the world of the 21st century corporation and how they have to operate for maximum value. The thing I found rather disturbing was that it takes a PhD – probably a few of them – in a variety of math areas to give executives the necessary insight to make better decisions ranging from what product to develop next to who to sell it to and where.
Don’t get me wrong – this is mixed news for any enterprise software firm helping businesses locate, acquire, contextually link, understand and distribute high-quality data. The existence of such a high-value role validates product development but it also limits adoption. It is also great news that data has finally gathered the attention it deserves. But I am starting to ask myself why it always takes individuals with a “one-in-a-million” skill set to add value. What happened to the democratization of software? Why is the design starting point for enterprise software not always similar to B2C applications, like an iPhone app, i.e. simpler is better? Why is it always such a gradual “Cold War” evolution instead of a near-instant French Revolution?
Why do development environments for Big Data not accommodate limited or existing skills but always accommodate the most complex scenarios? Well, the answer could be that the first customers will be very large, very complex organizations with super complex problems, which they were unable to solve so far. If analytical apps have become a self-service proposition for business users, data integration should be as well. So why does access to a lot of fast moving and diverse data require scarce PIG or Cassandra developers to get the data into an analyzable shape and a PhD to query and interpret patterns?
I realize new technologies start with a foundation and as they spread supply will attempt to catch up to create an equilibrium. However, this is about a problem, which has existed for decades in many industries, such as the oil & gas, telecommunication, public and retail sector. Whenever I talk to architects and business leaders in these industries, they chuckle at “Big Data” and tell me “yes, we got that – and by the way, we have been dealing with this reality for a long time”. By now I would have expected that the skill (cost) side of turning data into a meaningful insight would have been driven down more significantly.
Informatica has made a tremendous push in this regard with its “Map Once, Deploy Anywhere” paradigm. I cannot wait to see what’s next – and I just saw something recently that got me very excited. Why you ask? Because at some point I would like to have at least a business-super user pummel terabytes of transaction and interaction data into an environment (Hadoop cluster, in memory DB…) and massage it so that his self-created dashboard gets him/her where (s)he needs to go. This should include concepts like; “where is the data I need for this insight?’, “what is missing and how do I get to that piece in the best way?”, “how do I want it to look to share it?” All that is required should be a semi-experienced knowledge of Excel and PowerPoint to get your hands on advanced Big Data analytics. Don’t you think? Do you believe that this role will disappear as quickly as it has surfaced?
I love exploring new places. I’ve had exceptional experiences at the W in Hong Kong, El Dorado Royale in the Riviera Maya and Ventana Inn in Big Sur. I belong to almost every loyalty program under the sun, but not all hospitality companies are capitalizing on the potential of my customer information. Imagine if employees had access to it so they could personalize their interactions with me and send me marketing offers that appeal to my interests.
Do I have high expectations? Yes. But so do many travelers. This puts pressure on marketing and sales executives who want to compete to win. According to Deloitte’s report, “Hospitality 2015: Game changers or spectators?,” hospitality companies need to adapt to meet consumers’ increasing expectations to know their preferences and tastes and to customize packages that suit individual needs.
In this interview, Jeff Klagenberg, senior principal at Myers-Holum, explains how one of the largest, most customer-focused companies in the hospitality industry is investing in better customer, product, and asset information. Why? To personalize customer interactions, bundle appealing promotion packages and personalize marketing offers across channels.
Q: What are the company’s goals?
A: The executive team at one of the world’s leading providers of family travel and leisure experiences is focused on achieving excellence in quality and guest services. They generate revenues from the sales of room nights at hotels, food and beverages, merchandise, admissions and vacation club properties. The executive team believes their future success depends on stronger execution based on better measurement and a better understanding of customers.
Q: What role does customer, product and asset information play in achieving these goals?
A: Without the highest quality business-critical data, how can employees continually improve customer interactions? How can they bundle appealing promotional packages or personalize marketing offers? How can they accurately measure the impact of sales and marketing efforts? The team recognized the powerful role of high quality information in their pursuit of excellence.
Q: What are they doing to improve the quality of this business-critical information?
A: To get the most value out of their data and deliver the highest quality information to business and analytical applications, they knew they needed to invest in an integrated information management infrastructure to support their data governance process. Now they use the Informatica Total Customer Relationship Solution, which combines data integration, data quality, and master data management (MDM). It pulls together fragmented customer information, product information, and asset information scattered across hundreds of applications in their global operations into one central, trusted location where it can be managed and shared with analytical and operational applications on an ongoing basis.
Q: How will this impact marketing and sales?
A: With clean, consistent and connected customer information, product information, and asset information in the company’s applications, they are optimizing marketing, sales and customer service processes. They get limitless insights into who their customers are and their valuable relationships, including households, corporate hierarchies and influencer networks. They see which products and services customers have purchased in the past, their preferences and tastes. High quality information enables the marketing and sales team to personalize customer interactions across touch points, bundle appealing promotional packages, and personalize marketing offers across channels. They have a better understanding of which marketing, advertising and promotional programs work and which don’t.
Q: What is the role did the marketing and sales leaders play in this initiative?
A: The marketing leaders and sales leaders played a key role in getting this initiative off the ground. With an integrated information management infrastructure in place, they’ll benefit from better integration between business-critical master data about customers, products and assets and transaction data.
Q. How will this help them gain customer insights from “Big Data”?
A. We helped the business leaders understand that getting customer insights from “Big Data” such as weblogs, call logs, social and mobile data requires a strong backbone of integrated business-critical data. By investing in a data-centric approach, they future-proofed their business. They are ready to incorporate any type of data they will want to analyze, such as interaction data. A key realization was there is no such thing as “Small Data.” The future is about getting very bit of understanding out of every data source.
Q: What advice do you have for hospitality industry executives?
A: Ask yourself, “Which of our strategic initiatives can be achieved with inaccurate, inconsistent and disconnected information?” Most executives know that the business-critical data in their applications, used by employees across the globe, is not the highest quality. But they are shocked to learn how much this is costing the company. My advice is talk to IT about the current state of your customer, product and asset information. Find out if it is holding you back from achieving your strategic initiatives.
Also, many business executives are excited about the prospect of analyzing “Big Data” to gain revenue-generating insights about customers. But the business-critical data about customers, products and assets is often in terrible shape. To use an analogy: look at a wheat field and imagine the bread it will yield. But don’t forget if you don’t separate the grain from the chaff you’ll be disappointed with the outcome. If you are working on a Big Data initiative, don’t forget to invest in the integrated information management infrastructure required to give you the clean, consistent and connected information you need to achieve great things.
“Opportunity for the large community to share experiences, lessons learnt, and help those that are starting the MDM journey get on the right track.”
Next month, Informatica will host its third MDM Day conference. Our past two events in Las Vegas and London have been huge successes thanks to the active participation of our customers, partners, and colleagues. The conference is structured to provide opportunities for you to share your ideas, provide guidance to our product management team, and learn from other customers’ MDM and PIM journeys.
When: February 12th, 8:30 AM – 5:00 PM
Where: Westin Times Square
How: Register Here
“If you don’t like change, you’re going to like irrelevancy a lot less.” I saw this powerful Ralph Waldo Emerson quotation in an MDM Summit presentation by Dagmar Garcia, senior manager of marketing data management at Citrix. In this interview, Dagmar explains how Citrix is achieving a measurable impact on marketing results by improving the quality of customer information and prospect information.
Q: What is Citrix’s mission?
A: Citrix is a $2.6 billion company. We help people work and collaborate from anywhere by easily accessing enterprise applications and data from any device. More than 250,000 organizations around the globe use our solutions and we have over 10,000 partners in 100 countries who resell Citrix solutions.
Q: What are marketing’s goals?
A: We operate in a hyper-competitive market. It’s critical to retain and expand relationships with existing enterprise and SMB customers and attract new ones. The marketing team’s goals are to boost campaign effectiveness and lead-to-opportunity conversion rates, while improving operational efficiencies.
But, it’s difficult to create meaningful customer segments and target them with relevant cross-sell and up-sell offers if marketing lacks access to clean, consistent and connected customer information and visibility into the total customer relationship across product lines.
Q: What is your role in achieving these goals?
A: I’ve been responsible for global marketing data management at Citrix for six years. My role is to identify, implement and maintain technical and business data management processes.I work with marketing leadership, GEO-based team members, sales operations, and operational experts to understand requirements, develop solutions and communicate results. I strive to create innovative solutions to improve the quality of master data at Citrix, including the roll-out and successful adoption of data governance and stewardship practices within Marketing and across other departments.
Q: What drove the decision to tackle inaccurate, inconsistent and disconnected customer and prospect information?
A: In 2011, the quality of customer information and prospect information was identified as the #1 problem by our sales and marketing teams. Account and contact information was incomplete, inaccurate and duplicated in our CRM system.
Another challenge was fragmented and inconsistent master account information scattered across the organization’s multiple applications. It was difficult to know which source had the most accurate and up-to-date customer and prospect information.
To be successful, we needed a single source of the truth, one system of reference where data management best practices were centralized and consistent. This was a requirement to understand the total customer relationship across product lines. We asked ourselves:
- How can we improve campaign effectiveness if more than 40% of the contacts in our customer relationship management system (CRM) are inactive?
- How can we create meaningful customer segments for targeted cross-sell and up-sell offers when we don’t have visibility into all the products they already have?
- How can we improve lead to opportunity conversion rates if we have incomplete prospect data?
- How can we improve operational efficiencies if we have double the duplicate customer and prospect information than the industry standard?
- How can we maintain high data quality standards in our global operations if we lack the data quality technology and processes needed to be successful?
Q: How are you managing customer and prospect information now?
A: We built a marketing data management foundation. We centralized our data management and reduced manual, error-prone and time-consuming data quality efforts. To decrease the duplicate account and contact rate, we focused on managing the quality of our data as close to the source as possible by improving data validation at points of entry.
Q: What role does Informatica play?
A: We using master data management (MDM) to:
- pull together fragmented customer, prospect and partner information scattered across applications into one central, trusted location where it can be mastered, managed and shared on an ongoing basis,
- organize customer, prospect and partner information so we know how companies and people are related to each other, which hierarchies and networks they belong to, including their roles and organizations, and
- syndicate clean, consistent and connected customer, partner and product information to applications, such as CRM and data warehouses for analytics.
Q: Why did you choose Informatica?
A: After completing a thorough analysis of our gaps, we knew the best solution was a combination of MDM technology and a data governance process. We wanted to empower the business to manage customer information, navigate multiple hierarchies, handle exceptions and make changes with a transparent process through an easy-to-use interface.
At the same time, we did extensive industry research and learned Informatica MDM was ranked as a visionary and thought leader in the master data management solution space and could support our data governance process.
Q: Can you share some of the results you’ve achieved?
A: Now that marketing uses clean, consistent and connected customer and prospect information and an understanding of the total customer relationship, we’ve seen a positive impact on these key metrics:
↑ 20% lead-to-opportunity conversion rates
↑ 20% operational efficiency
↑ 50% quality data at point of entry
↓ 50% in prospect accounts duplication rate
↓ 50% in creation of duplicate prospect accounts and contacts
↓ 50% in junk data rate