Blogger: Lyn Robison
When I speak about the importance of data, a few IT professionals will usually feel compelled to bring up the importance of business process automation. They make the point that information systems automate business processes, and they don’t want me to neglect that important IT topic in my zeal for data. In fact, they kind of imply that data is not really what enterprise IT does -- business process automation is the real work of IT.
While I can appreciate the value of business process automation, from what I can see, data is more fundamental than process. I am not saying that data is more important than process -– they are both vital in the work of IT –- but data is more fundamental. The reason is simple. Processes require data as input. If you do not have good data, you cannot have good processes. Good data is the prerequisite for good business processes.
Of course, the process folks might counter by saying that good business processes are what produce good data, so process is the prerequisite to data –- kind of a chicken and egg argument. I don’t agree with that. Data does not necessarily spring from business processes. Data can and will exist independent of any business processes. Good data is a picture of reality. Good data is a record of those aspects of reality that the business deems important. If you don’t have good data, you have no picture of reality, and you are in La La Land. Any business processes that businesspeople perform that are not based on reality will be unproductive.
So, if you want good business processes, make sure you have good data. You can improve your data by becoming proficient at measuring and tracking data quality in your enterprise. If the data gets better, everything else that the business does will get better along with it. A rising tide (of data quality) will raise all ships.
What do you think?