If you build it, data may not come!

The digital transformation journey begins with data and business process reform.

In a recent project for a leading healthcare agency, I was tasked to write an RFP for a CRM/ERP implementation. During the due diligence, it was acknowledged that data quality and business process issues pose a significant risk to success. My team also recognized that defining data transformation and business process improvement strategy were key critical success factors. The client chose to tackle data and process issues in the later phases of the project, procuring and upgrading CRM/ERP technologies first.

This is a common oversight, hoping that if we build it, “data will come”. As a matter of fact, many of my clients hired me to deal with data and process issues after the fact. In most cases, they ended-up rebooting the project. Data cleanup and business process refinement will impact if not all, most configuration and customization of an enterprise CRM/ERP solution.

I have also seen this misstep too many times in health information exchange types of projects. A few years ago, I led the implementation and integration of a provincial administrative registry for a major hospital. The politics of the time dictated that we accelerate the implementation and put the data and process issues on the backburner. What could have been accomplished within 3 months of analysis prior to implementation, impacted the project for years to come.

It is time to learn from this mistake once and for all, and remember that automation, AI, IoT, CRM, and technology, in general, do not solve data and process problems. The power of insight and BI is highly dependent on data/process accuracy and quality. Data transformation and business process improvement strategies, while not fun, they are the most important prerequisites for a successful digital transformation journey.