Monday, November 23, 2009

A Single Version of the Truth

The biggest problem I encounter in most companies is too many versions of the truth.

One computer spits out one version and another gives you something else. Usually, the poor people in the business have no idea why this is happening so they just use whichever answer will make the boss happy.

But that's business suicide. It guarantees failure because you don't know the real Truth.

Every business tries to make decisions based on data. How many widgets do you need to order for next season? How much warehouse space is needed? Where is the money being spent?

The information that you pull out of the computers is analyzed and studied in the hopes that they will shed some light on a looming decision. Decision making without common, unified data is suicide.

Many business's operate with multiple islands of information. One system for the warehouse, another for sales, a third for marketing. Each of these sections operates insulated from all the others.

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But what happens when you pull figures from marketing and they don't match up with those from sales? How do you reconcile the variances between the warehouse computers counts and the accounting computer?

That's why every business needs a unified version of the truth.

Example: Back in 1999, NASA's Mars Polar Lander crashed into Mars because one team did their math in Imperial Units and the other in Metric. When they exchanged their truths, no one caught the discrepancy. Two versions of an equal truth lead to a $125 million catastrophe.

You need to establish a single version of the truth for your business. This Truth will incorporate all the data from your various islands of information into a single whole. And even then, be cautious. The Truth can be slippery.

R-Squared Computing - Business Technology Experts