Information flow disturbance
Whenever data or information flow disturbance appears in company inadequate reporting appears and as final result wrong knowledge on strategic level can be created. Information and data flow starts with entering data in transaction systems, production systems. Next step of flow is data export form production systems and data combining from one or more systems and shaping data for reporting purposes. Data in context in report create information. Final stage is making decisions upon properly prepared set of information and making conclusions and actions. It is crucial to recognize where are weak links in data and information flow and to diminish influence from inadequate company data and information flow.
There are several points where information and data flow can be cut.
Data flow disturbance on production level
First information disturbance is in form of data flow disturbance and it happens in production systems and between production systems. Production systems are usually setup for processes and not for advanced reporting. By advanced reporting is meant integrated interrelated data which transparently describe business logic. There is no guaranty that process data flow in production systems is adequate to support reporting systems. No guarantee at all that reporting data flow will be sufficient. For example, total number of customers must be integrated with new customers and churn of customers. Integrated data means logic must perfectly fit into equation. If 100 new customers buy service and 50 cancel service, total number of customers should be higher for 50 customers. If this is not the case then data are not integrated.
Another example, new service is being introduced and processes are very well supported with modifications in billing system, provisioning system and CRM. After service is being launched company will bill new service. This means process data flow is adequate. But shall reporting of new service be good enough to represent integrated total numbers, gross ad and churn integrated? Mostly not, because new processes need to be described methodologically, data definitions need to be consolidated with other definitions.
Definitions of reported key performance indicators need to be consolidated with others to have same set of rules, same profitability methods or for example Economic Value Add (EVA) calculation. Business case upon data need to be transparent for checking.
There is a huge doubt that new service will have adequate data flow and additional modification of production systems or DWH structure is needed. It is called disturbance on methodology level.
If there are many changes on production systems it is a pretty good chance that current ETL between production systems and reporting systems like Data Warehouse and Business Intelligence solutions will not sufficiently follow changes on production level. Despite all precautions it happens. In such case inadequate ETL caused data flow disturbance.
Information flow disturbance in comments
Another point of information losses are commenting systems. Comments are additional information describing changes and deviations in data and information. On production systems many comments are created. There is a strong need to filter and to aggregate comments fro m production systems to management reporting. But filtering can distort information and comments loose their value.
Information and knowledge flow disturbance in BI reports
Last flow disturbance is Business intelligence knowledge generating disturbance. Final and not less significant data flow reduction happens with inadequate output of BI solutions and usage of this output in Decision Support Systems.
Is it possible to conclude from set of information from production systems impact on corporate balance sheet? No. Connections between financial and non financial production systems are very weak and not obvious. If certain changes on production level are made information flow disturbance can be minor at the begging and not spotted by BI users. Later, change can have much bigger impact causing bigger differences. Since changes are small at the begging and not corrected links between BI datamarts and solutions will suffer from disturbance on BI level. Only way to solve flow problem is to have dynamic and permanent process of implementing changes into mapping rules between systems for adequate integrated knowledge generation.