October 4, 2018

Good communication is the key to good data

Vendor master data management

Everyone is talking about data these days. From data science and data analysis to the way AI and machine learning advancements will impact the way data is used, there’s no escaping discussions about it.

Not that we’re complaining about this. After all, the very reason why HICX exists is to help businesses like yours define and refine your vendor onboarding and management processes, so you can gain better insights from your data and make more positive business decisions as a result.

However, we need to be honest and admit that sometimes these constant conversations about data can become too abstract and removed from the human element of working in a business.

Yes, things like procurement automation and AI will become increasingly prevalent within organisations because of the benefits they provide. But it’s always worth remembering that when data is created, it’s created by people, and when it is used to make a business decision, it’s used by people.

This is why focusing on enabling good communication between colleagues and departments as part of your vendor data management strategy is an integral part of enabling the creation of good quality data.

The moments that matter in the vendor onboarding process

When it comes to data management, you need to remember this simple but crucial truth – only two moments matter in a piece of data’s lifespan. When it’s created, and when it’s used.

When you take this into account, what becomes clear is that if you truly want to improve the quality of your vendor master data across the board, a huge amount rests on the moment of data creation.

You cannot simply hope to create inadequate data in the first instance and then go back and fix it later. You need to be proactive rather than reactive if you are to avoid the dreaded ‘garbage in, garbage out’ scenario.

So how do you enable your business’s employees to create that high-quality data at the first crucial moment – the moment of data creation?

Communicating with the ‘future’

We all know that the way we communicate has been reshaped in recent years by the emergence of countless different apps and internal workflows. While the ability to communicate well in real-time meetings and conversations is obviously still crucial, the ability to communicate with the future is just as important.

And yes, we do mean with the future, but this isn’t quite as space age as it sounds.

This is because – returning to our mantra above about the only two moments that matter in the life of a piece of data – whenever anyone creates a piece of data they are, in essence, facilitating communication with some in the future. Consider the below:

  • The creation of data happens in the here and now (real-time)
  • However, the use of data for a specific business purpose happens later down the line (in the future – though doesn’t necessarily have to mean the distant future)

So, with this in mind, how can you turn your business’s employees into effective communicators? Well, you need to instill in them the following values and make sure that whenever they create a piece of data, it is:

  • Clear and readable (doesn’t include obscure terms)
  • Easily understandable
  • Consistent with the terminology used within your business
  • Fit for other users’ purposes and meets their needs
  • And, of course, that it is accurate and compliant with any relevant business rules.

These points might sound obvious, but they are always worth reiterating because of how fundamental they are in the vendor master data management process. After all, the quality of your data is only ever as good the communication process that led up to its creation.

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