Data Quality, Governance Move up CFOs' To-Do List

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10 Critical Myths and Realities of Master Data Management

Prevalent myths surrounding MDM alongside an explanation of the realities.

CIOs, brush off your plans for data governance, master data management and maybe even underlying integration work because it looks like CFOs are finally realizing that the better the data, the more accurate their forecasts.


A recent Hackett Group study of CFOs and financial departments shows almost all companies plan to invest in technology this year, especially in the areas of "process and information architecture redesign and business intelligences' analytics technology."


Seventy-six percent of finance departments said implementing BI/analytics applications would be a top tech priority in the coming year, according to "The CFO's Agenda: Finance's Top Issues in 2011."


That's not so unpredictable, but what did surprise me is the report's finding that more organizations finally realize they must address underlying data issues: Sixty-seven percent identified "establish data stewardship, standardize master data and cleanse data" as a priority.


Hackett Practice Leader Tom Willman, who co-authored the report, told Business Finance that data quality and governance have moved up the list of priorities from previous years:

What companies are recognizing is that they've thrown lots of money at the applications, but without standardizing and cleansing their data they're still getting information that doesn't make sense. They have businesses that are using different definitions, that are calculating metrics differently, that use different hierarchies. This whole concept of master data management is absolutely critical for companies to be able to eventually get to the point where they have predictive analytics.

As things stand now, predictive analytics are still more a goal than reality, he added.


Obviously, data governance, data quality and master data management all relate to integration and can be undermined by poor integration practices. So, this might be a good time to establish some best practices and perhaps fund an integration competency center.


Alas, the report does not specify how many organizations were surveyed. And it doesn't just cover technology issues, but provides broad insight into what CFOs see as their biggest priorities and challenges for 2011.


It's well worth a quick read-perhaps you could even use it as a jumping off point for a discussion with your own CFO about her priorities for this year. It's available for free download, although registration is required.


On a side note, it wouldn't recognize my Gmail account as a "valid" business email address, so you'll have to hand over your business email.