Critical Business Data- Measuring What You Manage

Your critical business data provides business insights into operations and emerging new business opportunities.


Peter Drucker, a respected management consultant, is quoted as saying, “You cannot manage what you cannot measure.” This applies to most business issues and certainly toward data governance. Theresa Kushner and I have published various articles on Latin Business Today about the importance of managing your critical business data, including customer and account contact information, financial information, and product and service information.

Your company’s business data is not just a byproduct of your IT systems but rather it represents the company to your employees, suppliers and customers as well as your internal systems and business processes.

Your critical business data can also provide insight into your operations and how to improve them using big data analytics, an emerging new business opportunity.

Like your organization’s other valuable assets, critical business data must be managed to ensure it is meeting the needs of the company and all of its stakeholders.

Critical Business Data -What to Do

Many organizations are unsure which metrics to track to ensure the company is governing this asset correctly. Let me offer some suggestions.

First, let’s assume you have implemented a data-governance program, as we have suggested in previous articles.

Your most important business data has been identified and classified, and responsible owners have been named to oversee the data. So for example, for customer account and contact data the most important fields could be company name, address, Dunns number, industry code, contact email and privacy opt-in flag.

For each of the six fields of your critical data, measure and monitor:

  1. Completeness: Are all required fields in place?
  2. Consistency: Is the same business data used consistently across the company (i.e., are definitions, formats and formulas the same)?
  3. Accuracy: Is the data accurate–does it represent reality?

Next- Fields 4 to 6, How to track it, Recapping rewards

Maria Villar
Maria Villar
Maria Villar is an information technology expert and a vice president at SAP, a global software company, with responsibility over the firm’s data management strategy & governance . She and Theresa Kushner co-write a regular column to They are co-authors of Managing Your Business Data: From Chaos to Confidence, published by Racom Books in 2008. Villar was recognized in Hispanic Business Magazine as one of the Top 100 Influential Hispanics, and received the Distinguished Hispanic IT Executive award from Hispanic Engineer National Achievement Awards Conference.

Featured Items