Reviving Your Legacy (data)

Ever wish you could know more about the future, especially regarding exceptional events that disrupt the supply chain? While we may not have a crystal ball, we do have the ability to leverage the 20/20 vision that hindsight holds. One of the ways to do this is to transport your historic information out of the shadows and back to your fingertips. How? By bringing the components of your Legacy Data into a consolidated analytical environment.

The image below shows the flow of a recent project we completed for a client. While the homebuilder already had a data warehouse with a series of data marts, they had never been able to load the information from the two systems they sunsetted a few years prior, namely QuickBooks and TrueLine.

The client knew our work from the consolidation of their current back office systems and asked us to do the same with their retired solutions. The results were very effective in providing them with additional insights and a more powerful analysis of all their data. So, ready to get started but don’t know how? No worries, we’ve got both the steps you need and the guidance!

Knowing what you have

First, list the old systems that you still have with data on them. Include the type of each system, the location of the raw data, who has access, and any connections or interfaces from the past and/or present.

Next, list the kinds of data in the system. Chances are you don’t want to use all the data. Compare your list with your key reports to identify the types of data you would like to extract and use.

Finally, peek at your report sources to identify if you suffer from “spreadmart” architecture – a flawed concept from the early 2000s that we’ve seen a lot of due to lack of options and/or lack of understanding. A spreadmart (spreadsheet data mart) is running your business data analysis/reporting system  on spreadsheets or other desktop tools, such as Access databases. A spreadmart is typically created by many individuals within a company developing and maintaining their own reports in the way they are most comfortable with, creating a decentralized, fractured view of the enterprise. Take this opportunity to clean up the mess that comes from a spreadmart.

How to bring your data to life (again)

  • Think about the KPIs you don’t currently have and the types of performance and transaction details that you could use from all your systems – old and new – to give you those extra insights that you are lacking.
  • If you don’t have centralized data storage for reporting, create it.
  • Define the priority of each data source and what information is to be captured/utilized.
  • When your centralized data environment is ready, POPULATE IT! Load all the identified data from your retired systems, current systems, and miscellaneous files (spreadmart).
  • Train your team. Once your data is centralized, validated, and readily available, you will need to know how to consume this data. Whether those tools are reports, dashboards, or other analytical tools, your authorized users knowing how to work with your data will make your results more successful.

Hire a reputable developer or consultant

You want your data to be powerful to help you make better business decisions. It’s not enough to dump all your data together in one place, you need to:

  • Understand needs specific to the homebuilding and property management industries
  • Learn what reports and insights other builders are developing and utilizing
  • Review some examples of consolidated data points and correlations that lead to real strategies for change

Whether you just want to talk through your project, you want someone to build your data loads and train your team, or you need some great starter reports – Cornerstone has you covered.

Conclusion

Whether your history is sitting on an old AS/400 system begging to be released back into your hands, scattered amongst files on your network like little lost kittens, or hiding behind an API that you need to leverage, loading this information into an easily accessible environment provides you the opportunity to view where you’ve been in summarized or detailed format.

While retired solutions have reached their end of life, the information they captured is timeless. Grab it, bundle it with your current data, and catch a glimpse of your future in the rearview mirror.

Need help creating or extending your centralized data environment?

Reach out to us and continue your journey of success.