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by Kesavan, H.

We have all heard of time value of money. What could this "time value of data" mean?

All organizations these days are sitting on mountains of data and struggling to make sense of this data avalanche. In their desire to stay competitive, these organizations tend to store as much data as they can, for a 'rainy' day as they say, for they do not know which data would be useful when.

Notwithstanding this sad state of affairs in organizations, they also fail to realize that even "data" has got something called a "useful" life. This fact-of-life is very important to understand from the point of view of any Business Intelligence initiative that an enterprise might undertake.

Let us consider an example to understand. Maruti Suzuki introduced its model Maruti Zen and its variants in 1993. In 2006 this model was replaced by Zen Estilo - a second generation model. This meant that all data pertaining to the first generation model of Zen became redundant with the replacement of this model.

Consider another example - a typical M&A scenario. Here as a result of the merger, product rationalization takes place owing to which certain products cease to exist. Again the useful life of certain data becomes nil.

With product life cycle getting shorter with increasing customer demands, the fact-of-life that data has a useful life has become all the more significant. With each progressive year after introduction of a new product, the time value of data like money decreases till it loses value when it is withdrawn from the market.

Hence it is very important to inculcate the practice of change management right from the beginning of a BI initiative and take stock of changes required every 3 months or 6 months depending on the nature of the industry.

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Comment by Matt Warden on May 25, 2010 at 1:39pm
I find myself nodding my head to most of your posts. You are absolutely right that there is a time value to data assets a company has. I alluded to this somewhat in my last comment comparing the criticality of missing the mark on a BI project (much higher) compared to missing the mark on a custom app project (bad, but not nearly as damaging to the business). This underscores the need to make the BI delivery process more agile. Do you have thoughts on how to do this? Have you looked into tools that facilitate it? I'm talking more about facilitating the delivery process into solid BI platforms (BObj, Cognos, SSAS, MicroStrategy, etc.) rather than trying to replace those BI platforms.

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