by Jan Vlcek

Challenge

This global online travel company faced a series of decision-making crises because of unreliable data, reporting and analytics from one of its customer operations centers. Information problems ranging from quality and consistency to usability and availability eroded company-wide confidence in product selection, marketing and vendor management decisions. The operations center, contending with an information system pieced together at various stages of the organization’s development, contacted Point B to identify the causes of their data problems and propose solutions. Within three months the Point B team had them on a path forward with a functioning accountability process, technology and data quality fixes and steps for achieving optimization of the enterprise’s data warehouse and reporting systems.

Unraveling root causes

Point B worked with business and technology leaders in the operations center and across the organization to diagnose specific pain points. We performed a deep assessment of the associated data architecture, metadata, technology, management processes and organizational operating models. What we learned was enlightening to our client—that their system was breaking down on multiple levels related to data quality, isolated silos of information, overly complex reporting architecture and lack of an accountability system to address issues as they surfaced.

Clear path forward

Working closely with the client to consider relevant perspectives—business, technology and process—we defined the information system’s ideal future state. We then created a roadmap for solving the most critical problems in the short-term, continuing through medium- and long-term steps to achieve the desired future state. In addition to outlining tactical fixes for specific data, ETL (Extract, Transform and Load) process and source data problems, our governance and architecture recommendations were implemented:

  • Establish a data steward role to drive accountability
  • Initiate transfer & consolidation of data into the Enterprise Data Warehouse to address integration, consistency and accessibility
  • Employ a data dictionary (created by Point B) as a reference point for data quality, format and purpose

Rapid gains

This organization’s data issues involved multiple business divisions as well as the operations center’s own technology and processes. By accepting this view our client is now able to proactively manage nearly all the factors that compromise data quality, thus reducing enterprise-wide vulnerabilities. Within the first two months of following our roadmap, the organization reports significantly improved reporting efficiency and accountability. They are engaged in a fundamental redesign of their source data, making considerable gains in their EDW consolidation efforts and confidence in their decisions.