Storage is cheap and you could potentially store all of your data and information forever (or for five years once the storage technology and ability to read it becomes obsolete). Just because something is cheap does not mean it is good business. Over retention of data and information can lead to lost efficiency, productivity, less regulatory compliance and higher operating cost. When data and information is stored without a thought to managing it or a governance process then data quality goes down.

Corporate research papers and white papers are hit or miss. I recently read a great one sponsored by Talend entitled “Building a Business Case for Better Data Management,” that I’d highly recommend. If you have ever had trouble selling an information governance or data governance program I’d highly recommend this to you. Here is an excerpt from it on the business impact of data management:

What are the business areas where data management is likely to impact the financial position?

Sales and Marketing

  • Identifying new markets and business opportunities and acquiring new customers through data analysis
  • Sales to existing customers. Good data management can reveal who are the most valuable customers and what products/ services the business can up- or cross-sell.
  • Accurate data can make fulfilment and provisioning smooth and efficient by eliminating shipping products/services to the wrong customers
  • Billing/invoicing customers accurately
  • Accurate product/service pricing
  • Timely and relevant customer support, eg technical support, with knowledge about what products/services the customer has, customer issues can be addressed correctly
  • Smooth and efficient returns handling. Even if the company has supplied a faulty product, brand reputation can be maintained with an excellent returns service.

Supply Chain and Supplier Chain Management

  • keep track of supplier product/service pricing
  • Just-in-time inventory management releasing capital for other uses
  • Supplier-managed inventory reducing administration overhead
  • Preventing inventory duplication, reducing waste and releasing capital
  • Inventory quality control – spotting faults before they find their way into products
  • Ordering correct parts/materials/services to reduce waste and increase efficiency
  • Supplier invoicing/payment, to ensure suppliers are paid accurately and on time, reducing waste and improving
  • supplier relationships
  • Increase efficiency of supplier/order queries
  • Handle returns to suppliers efficiently

Administration and Collaboration

  • Business decisions made with accurate data means fewer costly missteps
  • Reduce the time and effort required to generate queries and reports, freeing up executive time for more value-adding tasks
  • Enable collaboration across business silos because everyone is working from the same data set
    lessons learned in one part of the organisation can be easily transmitted and applied throughout
  • Business can be agile, reacting to dynamic markets defensively or opportunistically
  • Reduce duplication of work


  • Accurate financial statements can be issued with confidence
  • Comply with data protection and privacy regulations, spam laws etc
  • Avoid damage to reputation on social media
  • Exploit patents and IP; avoid patent and IP trespass


  • Reduce storage volume
  • Reduce energy consumption
  • Reduce development time
  • Free IT staff for more valuable tasks