Thursday, 15 November 2012

Mapping Value through Your Most Important Asset

Today I chatted with someone getting ready to go live with a new system and were in the process of making their legacy data fit with the new platform. It was a familiar scenario with the existing data from a 10 year old system, that grew out of nothing, had little validation and a data structure creaking at the seams. 
Everyone benefits from a combined approach 
towards better data quality.

With most ageing systems there are variations of the same products, companies and contacts. The resulting duplicates are generally held together by long serving staff who know the data intimately and can readily reason why it sits in the way it does.

Migration to a new platform with added  validation and business rules can pose interesting challenges for any BI or BA consultant but therein lies an opportunity. 

A rationalised mapping approach that involves key business users in a sit down exercise will give value back to their most important asset. By creating two-column lists with distinct values of legacy data on the left and their equivalent on the new platform on the right is a slow and hard slog but worth the effort. It can be done where variations exist in company names, product names or any other referential information. 

Those long serving serving staff that hold dupes together hold the value in this exercise in delivering meaningful mappings. It's an exercise in exchanging ideas and will result in rethinks to the functionality of the new platform as the nature of the data is explored. It will also result in a cleaner data set.

From a techie point of view the mappings form part of the data transformation between legacy and destination platforms which the data is driven through en route to success.

This sit down exercise has huge benefits as Insight relies on aspects of search, results, related results, relevance and ranking. These are the ingredients of the moment as most businesses reach out across a complicated digital landscape.

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