The expression “garbage in, garbage out” has been around since the earliest days of computing. Yet in today’s digital economy, the issue of data quality is more important than it’s ever been. The vast volumes of data generated by the Internet of Things and social media have magnified the issue exponentially, and failure to respond effectively could have a damaging – even catastrophic – effect on future business success.
This disruptive, data-driven world is transforming the business landscape. Organizations are forced to explore new revenue models and new ways of working as new competitors emerge – often from different industries – and customers become more demanding. Mergers and acquisitions add to this constantly evolving environment. The pressure to deliver accurate, timely, and trustworthy data to your business users in an easily accessible and consumable way has never been greater.
But although data quality is a fundamental requirement, it’s only part of the picture. Data now comes from more and more sources, providing the fuel to drive the digital economy and the lubrication for frictionless business processes. To run a live business that can predict, react, and execute in real time requires excellence throughout the entire lifecycle of managing and using information resources. There are a number of ways that enterprise information management solutions from SAP can help organizations achieve this.
The first is IT simplification. Complexity remains the single biggest barrier to the effective use of information. Many organizations still have siloed applications, data stores, and information management capabilities, which is why 85% of people* say they spend too much time trying to find the information they need. SAP has addressed this complexity issue with a single, unified data platform that provides open and comprehensive information management capabilities.
Effective information governance must lie at the heart of a holistic information strategy. Where did the data come from? Has it been changed, when, and by whom? Strategic business decisions rely on the accuracy of your data, and the downside costs in terms of non-compliance, risk, and reputation could be significant. SAP Master Data Governance software consolidates master data from any SAP and non-SAP system to create a single best record, and provides an audit trail of all changes to the data.
Accurate and reliable data can also help to automate and simplify end-to-end business processes like order-to-cash and procure-to-pay. Without it, you can’t get a single, consistent view of customers, products, or materials. The SAP Information Steward solution helps you monitor, analyze, and improve data integrity by combining profiling and metadata management tools to provide continuous insight into enterprise information quality.
Data retention is another key information challenge. Regulations vary around the world, and the price of non-compliance can be enormous. Under the General Data Privacy Regulation (GDPR) which comes into force in Europe in May 2018, for example, a company can be fined up to 4% of its annual turnover for failure to comply. SAP Information Lifecycle Management can help you automate data retention according to rules that you define, minimizing risk and reducing storage costs.
As we said at the beginning, information excellence is the key to success in the digital economy. This is backed up by the numbers: according to SAP Performance Benchmarking, organizations that recognize information as a key strategic asset achieve 46% higher revenue growth. As well as the examples quoted above, we can offer a number of other enterprise management solutions to help you achieve the information excellence you need to drive business success in the digital age.
If you would like to find out more about how SAP software can help unleash the power of your information assets, download the SAP Digital Business Framework or visit SAP.com/dataislive.
* A Holistic Approach to Digital Transformation, AIIM White Paper 2016, sponsored by SAP