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EDM blindspots: Lessons from McDonald's latest campaign

McDonald's has taken a significant step change in how it is trying to build trust with its customers. Rather than having Ronald McDonald clowning around (which we've now had for 40 years here in the UK), the fast food giant is talking food provenance, giving away 'free' fruit in Happy Meals and has a new strapline "Here's to what matters". Perhaps we could employ the same tagline for data management initiatives? So, here's to what matters in EDM.

Food provenance is about field to fork. Data provenance is about source to share. Along the way we want to know the same answers: who touched it, when did they touch it, how did they touch it and why did they touch it? (see Accenture's interesting write-up on buffalo wings and data lineage for more on this analogy).

Data lineage, the tracking of data from origin right through the lifecycle, is a headline item. It is at the heart of managing data, it delivers exactly the sort of transparency that the regulators and stakeholders are now commanding. We've been talking about empowering those who use the data to manage the data for years now. It is still a central tenet to any data management initiative. The right data is imperative to making the right decisions.

Having a central hub that creates master sets across all data sets is a start. A full transparent audit trail of all changes with no loss of source data is another part of it. Firms should be able to track data both forwards and backwards to meet new disclosure requirements. It needs to be for all data, both internal and external. And finally this also needs to be an efficient process where additions to that data shouldn't require you to wait for a schema change by your vendor.

Providing an ever greater level of visualisation and traceability of data throughout the whole data lifecycle that can be traced back to source at any time is the goal. And regulators are pushing hard for this. The primary driver though is surely reducing operational risk.


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