What do truck idling times, data integration and the correct spelling of Wal-Mart have in common?
About $6 million in savings on fuel costs, if you're U.S. Xpress trucking company. This recent CIO.com article explains how the company used tough love and Informatica's software to bring order to an assortment of databases, 130 siloed applications and-my personal favorite - 178 unique spellings of Wal-Mart. Now that's a data integration/data quality success story.
The company's CIO and CTO really delivered on this one and I think after you read the article, you'll see why CIO Dale Langley deserves an award or maybe his own reality show. I love the fact that he took an off-hand remark made by another executive and turned it into a challenge for IT. Six weeks later, he'd delivered on that challenge with actual data that lead to reducing idle times and significant-did I mention the $6 million? - savings.
And he obviously gives data integration and data quality the kind of respect it deserves. Check out his quotes:
- On the Wal-Mart misspellings: "Until you get that kind of thing cleaned up, your data is not worth anything."
- On the importance of data quality: "Initially, they wanted a customer relationship management (CRM) system. I told them, we are not even going to start CRM until we have data quality in place."
It's a little long for a t-shirt, but you gotta love the sentiment.
I love success stories, but they can be hard to find-particularly the really impressive ones with a specific pay-off like that. Recently, I ran across another success story on Barclays' use of master data management to cut costs, improve financial reporting, improve data, stop fraud and so on. It's missing the wow factor of the CIO.com piece, but what it lacks in specific dollar amounts, it makes up for in detail about the MDM implementation itself.
As Forrester analyst Rob Karel recently observed, a lot has changed in the past five years. When it comes to data management, "the wind is at our backs, and momentum is building across multiple entry points," he wrote.
Sometimes, tech workers, analysts, vendors, and, yes, journalists, focus so much on what needs to be done that we forget to stop and smell the roses, so to speak. Since we're in the first week of spring, it seems like a good time to do just that. Feel free to post a link to your favorite data management success story.