Lost control of your data?

SAP master data

Ranjan Bakshi, Prospecta Software

You’re not alone. At this year’s Mastering SAP EAM conference, Prospecta CTO Ranjan Bakshi will show how implementing a master data strategy for better governance doesn’t have to be complex and expensive. Debra Hamilton reports.

Today, more than ever before, enterprises are absolutely drowning in data. The situation is being exacerbated by digitalisation and the Internet of Things (IoT) in addition to an increasing number of locations, growing number of non-IT users, mobile access, and automation. Taken together, the need for effective master data management and governance is becoming increasingly critical to Enterprise Asset Management (EAM).

“There is a lot of data,” said Ranjan Bakshi, CTO, Prospecta Software. “That is the reason why we are undertaking the journey to build solutions around the EAM side of things.”

Previously, with more manual processes and more multiple levels of manual checks in place, there was less reliance on data quality. “But right now, you are all-dependent on the key data,” said Bakshi. So accuracy of that master data is paramount.

Paradoxically, this is creating a stop-and-go scenario for many enterprises. They know they need to take the initiative and there is a definite sense of urgency, but they need the right tools and processes to proceed. Until recently, “the focus was on how to implement an EAM solution rather than how it would work in the future,” said Bakshi. But that future is now.

Many organisations simply don’t know where to start. Bakshi recommends tackling pain points first. Some of these can result in quick wins and simple implementations. He said one of Prospecta’s customer’s issues stemmed from the way they named their parts. Solving that solved most of their problems with duplicates.

“Then basically, it depends on the organisation, the culture. Every organisation is different when it comes to data culture … it really has to come from the top down,” he said.

He emphasised the need for the business to embrace ownership of the data – whether it is product data, finance data, sales and marketing data, customer data, operations and maintenance data or vendor data.

The depth of that ownership is defined in the data culture. “Sometimes, it is pretty deep and you can create nice processes to just automate that, and sometimes it’s pretty high level,” said Bakshi.

Prospecta has assisted enterprise clients with very strong, established data cultures and some that had no data culture at all.

For example, Bakshi said that Mondelez’s data culture is very deep but they needed a specific tool to address a defined problem. As a result, although they had an established Master Data Management (MDM) solution, they have layered on Prospecta Software’s Master Data Online (MDO) module for its entire US operation.

Another major client had no data culture at all. “It was mostly a service organisation working from contract to contract. So we really had to go on a data culture journey for two years, but today they have the materials, their customers, their catalogues, all automated, all checked.”

Bakshi said a key message he wants conference attendees to take away “is that they really need to start making data an important topic of discussion” as an integrated part of any project or initiative they are undertaking.

“I think the biggest benefit is that you can really trust the data. So you can rely on whatever you’re going to use it for.”

The higher the quality of the data, the fewer the delays, lower the costs, and more reliable the outputs for better analysis and business decisions.

“Normally they should try to tag it along with a bigger initiative,” he said. This advice is particularly timely as organisations are undertaking massive multi-million dollar digitalisation projects and IoT projects. Without reliable data management and governance, they run the risk of building a magnificent castle on a foundation of sand.

Baskshi also seeks to dispel the myth that gaining control of data is a costly proposition.

“To get into it is not expensive anymore. You don’t have to spend a lot,” he said.

Bakshi will present at Mastering SAP EAM Conference, to be held 19-21 November at The Star on the Gold Coast. Find out more and register here.

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