Tag Archives: Informatica

Utility Executives: Don’t Waste Millions in Operating Costs Due to Bad Asset Data

“Trying to improve the quality of asset data when you don’t have a solid data management infrastructure in place is like trying to save a sinking boat with a bailing bucket,” explained Dean Balog, a senior principal consultant at Noah Consulting, in this webinar, Attention Utility Executives: Don’t Waste Millions in Operating Costs Due to Bad Asset Data

Dean Balog from Noah Consulting explains how to improve the quality of mission-critical asset data for asset management / equipment maintenance and regulatory reporting, such as rate case submissions.

Dean has 15 years of experience in information management in the utilities industry. In this interview, Dean and I discuss the top issues facing utility executives and how to improve the quality of mission-critical asset data for asset management / equipment maintenance and regulatory reporting, such as rate case submissions.

Q: Dean, what are the top issues facing utility executives?
A: The first issue is asset management / equipment maintenance. Knowing where to invest precious dollars is critical. Utility executives are engaged in a constant tug of war between two competing priorities: replacing aging infrastructure and regular maintenance.

Q. How are utility executives determining that balance?
A. You need to start with facts – the real costs and reliability information for each asset in your infrastructure. Without it, you are guessing. Basically, it is a data problem. Utility executives should ask themselves these questions:

  • Do we have the ability to capture and combine cost and reliability information from multiple sources?  Is it granular enough to be useful?
  • Do we know the maintenance costs of eight-year-old breakers versus three-year-old breakers?
  • Do our meters start failing around the average lifespan? For this example, let us say that is five years. Rather than falling uniformly into that average, do 30% of our meters fail in the first year and the rest last eight years? Those three extra years of life can certainly help out the bottom line.

Knowing your data makes all the difference. The right capital investment strategy requires combining performance, reliability, and cost data.

Quotations about data challenges faced by utility companies

Quotations about data challenges faced by utility companies

Q. Why is it difficult for utility executives to understand the real costs and reliability of assets?
A. I know this does not come as a shock, but most companies do not trust their data. Asset data is often inaccurate, inconsistent, and disconnected. Even the most basic data may not be available. For example, manufacture dates on breakers should be filled in, but they are not. If less than 50% of your breakers have manufacture dates, how can you build a preventative maintenance program? You do not even know what to address first!

A traditional approach to solving this data problem is to do a big data cleanup. You clean the data, and then before you know it, errors creep back in, and the trust in the data you have worked so hard to establish is lost.

I like to illustrate the pain of this issue by using the sinking boat analogy. Data cleanup is like bailing out the water collecting in the bottom of the boat. You think you are solving the problem but more water still seeps into the boat. You cannot stop bailing or you will sink. What you need to do is fix the leaks, and then bail out the boat. But, if you do not lift up your head from bailing long enough to see the leaks and make the right investments, you are fighting a losing battle.

Q. What can utility executives do to improve the quality of asset data?
A. First of all, you need to develop a data governance framework. Going back to the analogy, a data governance framework gives you the structure to find the leaks, fix the leaks, and monitor how much of the water has been bailed out. If the water level is still rising, you have not fixed all the leaks. But having a data governance framework is not the be-all and end-all.

You also need to appoint data stewards to be accountable for establishing and maintaining high quality asset data. The job of a data steward would be easy if there was only one system where all asset data resided. But the fact of the matter is that asset data is fragmented – scattered across multiple systems. Data stewards have a huge responsibility and they need to be supported by a solid data management infrastructure to ease the burden of managing business-critical asset information.

Webinar, Attention Utility Executives Bad Asset Data

If you are responsible for asset management / equipment maintenance or regulatory reporting, particularly rate case submissions, check out this webinar.

Master Data Management (MDM) ensures business-critical asset data is consistent everywhere by pulling together data that is scattered across multiple applications. It manages and masters it in a central location on a continuous basis and shares it with any applications that need that data. MDM provides a user interface and workflow for data stewards to manage the tangled web of names and IDs these assets are known by across systems. It also gives utilities a disciplined approach to manage important relationships between the asset data, such as an asset’s performance reliability and its cost.

Q. Any other pressing issues facing utilities?
A. Yes. Another big issue is tightening regulations that consume investment dollars and become key inputs into rate case submissions and defenses. One of the complicating factors is the number of regulations is not only increasing, but the regulators are also requiring faster implementation times than ever before. So, utilities cannot just do what they have done in the past: throw more people at the problem in the short-term and resolve to fix it later by automating it “when things slow down.” That day never comes.

Q. How can utilities deal with these regulatory pressures?
A. Utilities need a new approach to deal with regulations. Start with the assumption that all data is fair game for regulators. All data must be accessible. You need to be able to report on it, not only to comply with regulations, but for competitive advantage. This requires the high quality asset information we talked about earlier, and an analytical application to:

  • Perform what-if analyses for your asset investment program;
  • Develop regulatory compliance or environmental reports quickly, because the hard work (integrating the data within your MDM program) has already been done; and
  • Get access to granular, observed reliability and cost information using your own utility’s data – not benchmark data that is already a couple of years old and highly summarized.

Q. What is your advice for utility company executives?
A. If you are the one responsible for signing off on regulatory reports and you do not look good in an orange jumpsuit, you need to invest in a plan that includes people, process, and technology to support regulatory reporting and asset management / equipment maintenance.

  • People – Data stewards have clear accountability for the quality of asset data.
  • Process – Data governance is your game plan.
  • Technology – A solid data management infrastructure consisting of data integration, data quality, and master data management is your means.

If you are responsible for asset management / equipment maintenance or regulatory reporting, particularly rate case submissions, check out this webinar, Attention Utility Executives: Don’t Waste Millions in Operating Costs Due to Bad Asset Data

 Our panel of utility data experts:

  • Reveal the five toughest business challenges facing utility industry executives;
  • Explain how bad asset data could be costing you millions of dollars in operating costs;
  • Share three best practices for optimizing asset management / equipment maintenance and regulatory reporting with accurate, consistent, and connected asset information; and
  • Show you how to implement these best practices with a demonstration.

 

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Posted in Data Governance, Data Integration, Data Quality, Enterprise Data Management, Master Data Management, Partners, Utilities & Energy, Vertical | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

How Much Does Bad Data Cost Your Business?

Bad data is bad for business. Ovum Research reported that poor quality data is costing businesses at least 30% of revenues. Never before have business leaders across a broad range of roles recognized the importance of using high quality information to drive business success. Leaders in functions ranging from marketing and sales to risk management and compliance have invested in world-class applications, six sigma processes, and the most advanced predictive analytics. So why are you not seeing more return on that investment? Simply put, if your business-critical data is a mess, the rest doesn’t matter.

Dennis Moore explains the implications of using inaccurate, inconsistent and disconnected data and the value business leaders can gain by mastering it.

Dennis Moore explains the impact of using accurate, consistent and connected data and the value business leaders can gain through master data management (MDM).

Not all business leaders know there’s a better way to manage their business-critical data. So, I asked Dennis Moore, the senior vice president and general manager of Informatica’s MDM business, who clocked hundreds of thousands of airline miles last year visiting business leaders around the world, to talk about the impact of using accurate, consistent and connected data and the value business leaders can gain through master data management (MDM).

Q. Why are business leaders focusing on business-critical data now?
A. Leaders have always cared about their business-critical data, the master data on which their enterprises depend most — their customers, suppliers, the products they sell, the locations where they do business, the assets they manage, the employees who make the business perform. Leaders see the value of having a clear picture, or “best version of the truth,” describing these “master data” entities. But, this is hard to come by with competing priorities, mergers and acquisitions and siloed systems.

As companies grow, business leaders start realizing there is a huge gap between what they do know and what they should know about their customers, suppliers, products, assets and employees. Even worse,  most businesses have lost their ability to understand the relationships between business-critical data so they can improve business outcomes. Line of business leaders have been asking questions such as:

  • How can we optimize sales across channels when we don’t know which customers bought which products from which stores, sites or suppliers?
  • How can we quickly execute a recall when we don’t know which supplier delivered a defective part to which factory and where those products are now?
  • How can we accelerate time-to-market for a new drug, when we don’t know which researcher at which site used which combination of compounds on which patients?
  • How can we meet regulatory reporting deadlines, when we don’t know which model of a product we manufactured in which lot on which date?

Q. What is the crux of the problem?
A. The crux of the problem is that as businesses grow, their business-critical data becomes fragmented. There is no big picture because it’s scattered across applications, including on premise applications (such as SAP, Oracle and PeopleSoft) and cloud applications (such as Salesforce, Marketo, and Workday). But it gets worse. Business-critical data changes all the time. For example,

  • a customer moves, changes jobs, gets married, or changes their purchasing habits;
  • a suppliers moves, goes bankrupt or acquires a competitor;
  • you discontinue a product or launch a new one; or
  • you onboard a new asset or retire an old one.

As all this change occurs, business-critical data becomes inconsistent, and no one knows which application has the most up-to-date information. This costs companies money. It saps productivity and forces people to do a lot of manual work outside their best-in-class processes and world-class applications. One question I always ask business leaders is, “Do you know how much bad data is costing your business?”

Q. What can business leaders do to deal with this issue?
A. First, find out where bad data is having the most significant impact on the business. It’s not hard – just about any employee can share stories of how bad data led to a lost sale, an extra “truck roll,” lost leverage with suppliers, or a customer service problem. From the call center to the annual board planning meeting, bad data results in sub-optimal decisions and lost opportunities. Work with your line of business partners to reach a common understanding of where an improvement can really make a difference. Bad master data is everywhere, but bad master data that has material costs to the business is a much more pressing and constrained problem. Don’t try to boil the ocean or bring a full-blown data governance maturity level 5 approach to your organization if it’s not already seeing success from better data!

Second, focus on the applications and processes used to create, share, and use master data. Many times, some training, a tweak to a process, or a new interface can be created between systems, resulting in very significant improvements for the users without major IT work or process changes.

Lastly, look for a technology that is purpose-built to deal with this problem.  Master data management (MDM) helps companies better manage business-critical data in a central location on an ongoing basis and then share that “best version of the truth” with all on premise and cloud applications that need it.

Master data management (MDM) helps manage business-critical customer data and creates the total customer relationship view across functions, product lines and regions, which CRM promised but never delivered.

Master data management (MDM) helps manage business-critical customer data and creates the total customer relationship view across functions, product lines and regions, which CRM promised but never delivered.

Let’s use customer data as an example. If valuable customer data is located in applications such as Salesforce, Marketo, Seibel CRM, and SAP, MDM brings together all the business-critical data, the core that’s the same across all those applications, and creates the “best version of the truth.” It also creates the total customer relationship view across functions, product lines and regions, which CRM promised but never delivered.

MDM then shares that “mastered” customer data and the total customer relationship view with the applications that want it. MDM can be used to master the relationships between customers, such as legal entity hierarchies. This helps sales and customer service staff be more productive, while also improving legal compliance and management decision making. Advanced MDM products can also manage relationships across different types of master data. For example, advanced MDM enables you to relate an employee to a project to a contract to an asset to a commission plan. This ensures accurate and timely billing, effective expense management, managed supplier spend, and even improved workforce deployment.

When your sales team has the best possible customer information in Salesforce and the finance team has the best possible customer information in SAP, no one wastes time pulling together spreadsheets of information outside of their world-class applications. Your global workforce doesn’t waste time trying to investigate whether Jacqueline Geiger in one system and Jakki Geiger in another system is one or two customers, sending multiple bills and marketing offers at high cost in postage and customer satisfaction. All employees who have access to mastered customer information can be confident they have the best possible customer information available across the organization to do their jobs. And with the most advanced and intelligent data platform, all this information can be secured so only the authorized employees, partners, and systems have access.

Q. Which industries stand to gain the most from mastering their data?
A. In every industry there is some transformation going on that’s driving the need to know people, places and things better. Take insurance for example. Similar to the transformation in the travel industry that reduced the need for travel agents, the insurance industry is experiencing a shift from the agent/broker model to a more direct model. Traditional insurance companies now have an urgent need to know their customers so they can better serve them across all channels and across multiple lines of business.

In other industries, there is an urgent need to get a lot better at supply-chain management or to accelerate new product introductions  to compete better with an emerging rival. Business leaders are starting to make the connection between transformation failures and a more critical need for the best possible data, particularly in industries undergoing rapid transformation, or with rapidly changing regulatory requirements.

Q. Which business functions seem most interested in mastering their business-critical data?
A. It varies by industry, but there are three common threads that seem to span most industries:

Business leaders are starting to make the connection between transformation failures and bad data.

Business leaders are starting to make the connection between transformation failures and a more critical need for the best possible data.

  • MDM can help the marketing team optimize the cross-sell and up-sell process with high quality data about customers, their households or company hierarchies, the products and services they have purchased through various channels, and the interactions their organizations have had with these customers.
  • MDM can help the procurement team optimize strategic sourcing including supplier spend management and supplier risk management with high quality data about suppliers, company hierarchies,  contracts and the products they supply.
  • MDM can help the compliance teams manage all the business-critical data they need to create regulatory reports on time without burning the midnight oil.

Q. How is the use of MDM evolving?
A. When MDM technology was first introduced a decade ago, it was used as a filter. It cleaned up business-critical data on its way to the data warehouse so you’d have clean, consistent, and connected information (“conformed dimensions”) for reporting. Now business leaders are investing in MDM technology to ensure that all of their global employees have access to high quality business-critical data across all applications. They believe high quality data is mission-critical to their operations. High quality data is viewed as the the lifeblood of the company and will enable the next frontier of innovation.

Second, many companies mastered data in only one or two domains (customer and product), and used separate MDM systems for each. One system was dedicated to mastering customer data. You may recall the term Customer Data Integration (CDI). Another system was dedicated to mastering product data. Because the two systems were in silos and business-critical data about customers and products wasn’t connected, they delivered limited business value. Since that time, business leaders have questioned this approach because business problems don’t contain themselves to one type of data, such as customer or product, and many of the benefits of mastering data come from mastering other domains including supplier, chart of accounts, employee and other master or reference data shared across systems.

The relationships between data matter to the business. Knowing what customer bought from which store or site is more valuable than just knowing your customer. The business insights you can gain from these relationships is limitless. Over 90% of our customers last year bought MDM because they wanted to master multiple types of data. Our customers value having all types of business-critical data in one system to deliver clean, consistent and connected data to their applications to fuel business success.

One last evolution we’re seeing a lot involves the types and numbers of systems connecting to the master data management system. In the past, there were a small number of operational systems pushing data through the MDM system into a data warehouse used for analytical purposes. Today, we have customers with hundreds of operational systems communicating with each other via an MDM system that has just a few milliseconds to respond, and which must maintain the highest levels of availability and reliability of any system in the enterprise. For example, one major retailer manages all customer information in the MDM system, using the master data to drive real-time recommendations as well as a level of customer service in every interaction that remains the envy of their industry.

Q. Dennis, why should business leaders consider attending MDM Day?
A. Business leaders should consider attending MDM Day at InformaticaWorld 2014 on Monday, May 12, 2014. You can hear first-hand the business value companies are gaining by using clean, consistent and connected information in their operations. We’re excited to have fantastic customers who are willing to share their stories and lessons learned. We have presenters from St. Jude Medical, Citrix, Quintiles and Crestline Geiger and panelists from Thomson Reuters, Accenture, EMC, Jones Lang Lasalle, Wipro, Deloitte, AutoTrader Group, McAfee-Intel, Abbvie, Infoverity, Capgemini, and Informatica among others.

Last year’s Las Vegas event, and the events we held in London, New York and Sao Paolo were extremely well received. This year’s event is packed with even more customer sessions and opportunities to learn and to influence our product road map. MDM Day is one day before InformaticaWorld and is included in the cost of your InformaticaWorld registration. We’d love to see you there!

See the MDM Day Agenda.

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Posted in Business Impact / Benefits, Business/IT Collaboration, Customers, Data Quality, Informatica World 2014, Master Data Management | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

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.

Andrew Donaher advises IT leaders to ask business  leaders how much bad data is costing them.

Andrew Donaher
advises IT leaders to ask business
leaders how much bad data is costing them.

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?
You need a solid information management strategy to make the shift from looking into the rear-view mirror realizing the potential business value of predictive analytics.

If you want to get the business value you’re expecting by shifting from rear-view mirror style reporting to predictive analytics, you need to use clean, consistent and connected data

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:

  1. 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.
  2. 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:

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
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Posted in Business/IT Collaboration, Data Integration, Data Quality, Enterprise Data Management, Master Data Management, Partners, Retail | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | 11 Comments

Hospitality Execs: Invest in Great Customer Information to Support A Customer-Obsessed Culture

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.

Jeff Klagenberg helps companies to use their data as a strategic asset

Jeff Klagenberg helps companies use data as a strategic asset and get the most value out of it.

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.

Many marketers overlook the importance of using high quality customer information in their personalization capabilities.

Many marketers overlook the importance of using high quality customer information in their investments in personalization.

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.

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Posted in Customer Acquisition & Retention, Customers, Data Integration, Data Quality, Enterprise Data Management, Master Data Management | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Citrix Boosts Lead Conversion Rates by 20% with Better Customer Information

“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.

improving the quality of customer information at Citrix

To  improve marketing campaign effectiveness Dagmar Garcia delivers clean, consistent and connected customer 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:

  1. How can we improve campaign effectiveness if more than 40% of the contacts in our customer relationship management system (CRM) are inactive?
  2. 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?
  3. How can we improve lead to opportunity conversion rates if we have incomplete prospect data?
  4. How can we improve operational efficiencies if we have double the duplicate customer and prospect information than the industry standard?
  5. 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?
Customer information

Citrix is investing in a marketing data management foundation to deliver better quality customer information to operational and analytical applications.

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

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Who’s the Top MDM Vendor – IBM, SAP, Oracle, or Informatica?

The MDM space is filled by a number of well-known players. In addition to Informatica, you’ll also find IBM, Oracle, SAP, and a host of other vendors. But who’s the leader of this space?

The Information Difference is an analyst firm that specializes in MDM, and this firm has been watching the MDM space for years. Recently, The Information Difference compared 12 different MDM vendors, ranked them using 200 criteria, and published their findings in a report of the MDM landscape for Q2, 2013. The firm compared the vendors’ MDM offerings across 6 categories: data governance, business rules, data quality, data storage, data provision, and data movement.

(more…)

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Informatica and Heiler – Better Together

Access to information has always been extremely important to people and organizations. In an increasingly complex and interconnected world, data is an essential competitive advantage for companies. With rapidly growing data volumes, increased complexity, and high market speed, our goal is simple: to easily connect people and data.

Turning data into business outcomes has always been our value proposition at Heiler Software. Using the value of data and information potential is totally in line with the positioning of Informatica. Unleashing the potential of information will help to make the careers of our customers, partners and employees even better.

From beginning of all conversations, from the announcement of the acquisition in October 2012 until today, Informatica’s managers and employees always stuck to the promise they made. That is a great commitment for our employees and customers. Now Informatica has announced the exciting news that the acquisition of Heiler is completed.

Heiler is now a part of the Informatica family. Our entire team is looking forward to the future with Informatica. For Heiler, the door for an exciting and successful future is wide open. Informatica will provide our customers and our employees a promising perspective in a dynamic industry.

Hundreds of customers rely on Informatica’s multi-domain MDM platform to manage customer, location, and asset data, and synchronize accurate master data across operational and analytic systems. I am sure Informatica is committed to being a trusted partner and will work to ensure success with all Heiler’s products.

Heiler has just released PIM 7 to speed up the time to market with all products, across all sales and marketing channels. Also, since March 2013, Procurement 7.1 is available. Informatica is known for innovation. I am convinced that Informatica will continue investing in our business. Their goal is to generate real-time commerce business processes and create a unique customer experience for our customers’ business. Our award winning PIM fits in the Universal MDM strategy to deliver to one vision: Enabling our customers to offer the right product, for the right customer, from the right supplier, at the right time, via the right channels and locations. It is all about inspiring.

Joining the forces will allow our customers to leverage Informatica’s expertise in data quality and data integration to deliver greater business value. With Informatica’s Data Quality offerings, our customers will be able to further accelerate the introduction of your products to market. Additionally, customers will be able to easily onboard data from their suppliers, then distribute to its customers and partners electronically with Informatica B2B. We share a common goal to establish the combination of Informatica MDM and Heiler PIM as the gold standard in the industry.

Another benefit of the acquisition is that all customers will receive world-class support from Informatica’s Global Customer Support organization, which delivers a comprehensive set of support programs including 24×7 support across 10 regional support centers. Customers have ranked Informatica as #1 in customer satisfaction for seven years in a row. In addition, Informatica’s strong global partner ecosystem brings the right resources to solve business and technical challenges across more industries.

By reaching this important milestone my mission as CEO of Heiler Software AG will be fulfilled. Personally, I’m going to stay connected to Informatica and I am excited to get involved in the future of this excellent and innovative company.

The future of Universal MDM is close to my heart.

———————————————————-

Rolf-Heiler

 

Rolf J. Heiler, born 1959, married, three children, graduated in 1982 in Business management, majoring in IT and process organization. In 1987, Rolf Heiler founded Heiler Software GmbH. From 2000 Heiler Software was quoted on the stock exchange in 2000 in the “New Market” sector.

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Power(Center) to the People

At InformaticaWorld, we made a very exciting announcement—the introduction of PowerCenter Express, our entry-level data integration and profiling tool. What is PowerCenter Express, exactly? Well, in a nutshell, it’s giving the Power of PowerCenter to everyone, “to the people” if you like. We made PowerCenter Express available to all attendees at InformaticaWorld and they’ll be able to install it and be up and running in less than ten minutes. Since it’s PowerCenter, they’ll be able to scale up to enterprise class capabilities whenever they need to, using Vibe, our “Map Once, Deploy Anywhere” technology. Starting in July PowerCenter Express will be generally available to everyone- as a free download from Informatica’s Marketplace.

What we are doing with PowerCenter Express, is making sure that everyone, including departments and growing businesses, have access to PowerCenter’s high quality data integration and profiling tools. Until now the options for these groups have been limited—hand coding or open source products. Neither of these options is able to scale to be able to handle enterprise class data integration requirements. Which meant that before the advent of PowerCenter Express when these smaller organizations reached the point where they needed enterprise class capabilities and had to migrate to an enterprise data integration tool, they had no choice but to scrap all of their prior work . We don’t want that to happen anymore. We don’t want anyone to have to re-write mappings, to re-do work—ever. We want people to be able to map once, and deploy anywhere. And that’s what PowerCenter Express makes possible, that any organization, no matter how small, can start with PowerCenter—the gold standard for data integration—and stay with PowerCenter, re-using those same mappings when they transition to enterprise class, or when they want to deploy those mappings to Hadoop.

The reality is, as organizations’ data integration complexity reaches a certain point, they end up coming to Informatica—for the best products , the best support and the biggest ecosystem of developers. But in the past, for smaller organizations starting with the fully functional PowerCenter wasn’t always the best option. With PowerCenter Express, organizations can start small, start now, and scale fast. PowerCenter Express offers a real choice and future protection for entry-level data integration

If you’d like to learn more about PowerCenter Express before the public launch, shoot me an email at EBurns@Informatica.com. And start following me here, I’ll be posting a lot about this exciting new product over the coming weeks and months.

Emily V. Burns
Sr. Product Marketing Manager, PowerCenter Express

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With MDM Day, We’ve Tripled Expectations!

Last week I talked about Informatica World 2013, and how MDM is poised to be a major attraction. Now I know I was right, because the registrations are pouring in. Take MDM Day, the pre-conference event exclusively for our Master Data Management (MDM) customers and partners: So far, we’ve exceeded our attendance expectations threefold – to almost 350 people! This is exciting for us, but it’s also a clear sign of just how important MDM is in today’s IT infrastructure.

Here’s a bit about what we have planned for MDM Day:

In the morning, three Informatica MDM customers will present: Thomson Reuters, Lawson Products, and Allergan. Thomson Reuters will discuss how the company got its CxOs on-board with MDM, Lawson Products will recount a complete transformation in product data management, and Allergan will share insights on delivering repeated business value with MDM.

After each customer presentation, we’ll host an in-depth panel discussion led by both the customer and systems integration partners, which will be open to participation from the audience. These sessions will be highly interactive, allowing attendees to learn firsthand what worked and what didn’t, from some of Informatica’s most successful MDM customers.

In the afternoon sessions, attendees will be able to learn directly from Informatica MDM product management and development teams. We’ll demo the latest capabilities of MDM 9.5.1 and 9.6, including Salesforce MDM, and unveil some exciting new MDM advancements that are currently under development. Informatica MDM experts will discuss important architectural considerations in implementing Universal MDM, including Heiler PIM integration, and introduce ways to derive the most value from Universal MDM implementations.

We’ll cap off the day with roundtable discussions, providing customers with many opportunities to discuss their projects with Informatica development, product management, professional services, and support. Customers will be able to ask questions about new releases, features, and the MDM product roadmap, and they’ll have an opportunity to provide input for future versions. We’ll also offer a roundtable dedicated to discussing partner needs and ways to better support customer success.

I’ll look forward to seeing you at MDM Day!

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