Unfortunately, many of the systems we’re relying on today, to provide us critical business information, were not designed with this task in mind. Many of these systems were designed for the sole purpose of increasing productivity. Thus, only the data necessary to produce the intended increase was incorporated into the system. Fortunately, the need for greater and greater productivity has forced us to change systems or build new ones to meet the demand. This process has resulted in data accumulating in rough layers that have been loosely knitted together, to provide us with many of the answers we need today to remain competitive. However, these layers have become so fragmented and isolated, that it requires Herculean efforts to make sense of it.
To drive this point home even further, the CEO of a major logistics and transportation company called his efforts to obtain a consolidated view of all business done with a particular trucking company across all business units, a “Chinese fire drill.” This quote indicates that his information systems do not support his needs, and instead, require the chaotic process of humans manually pulling data and consolidating it, in order to obtain the values this CEO needs.
Sounds like most of the organizations that I work with. Mr. Morgenthal’s book may be useful in the re-education process.