By Thomas C. Redman
Harvard Business School Press, 2008
In my Management of Information Systems class and in the textbooks we discuss, the new way of analyzing data through data mining and other tools is called “Business Intelligence.” What we do not discuss, however, is how important clean data are and what to do with existing data. Delving into both subjects, Redman delineates some very practical how-tos.
In the introduction, Redman provides some basics on the need for and the benefits of clean data. As he develops this section, it is clear that this highly neglected area of business can make a substantial difference in an organization.
Redman then deals with putting data and information to work. He covers how to make better decisions as well as how to take and get data from the marketplace. These lessons are important to understand as data and information become more valuable than any other asset in an organization. They can give an organization an unbelievable competitive edge in finding and keeping the right kind of customer.
Lastly, Redman covers the management of data and information. He recommends having a Chief Data Officer (CDO) to oversee this important area. He also recommends that the business, not IT, should be responsible for data. This is a distinctive point as most companies rely on IT for clean data. His practical way of tackling this complex subject involves a 100-day implementation of a data plan.
Redman’s vignettes fill each chapter with great information and recommendations on how to gather and use data. The book is little dry at times, but I took its very important message to be that every C-level executive of every for-profit or nonprofit organization should understand the importance of clean data. I highly recommend this book to anyone in management.