Caring is crucial in order to manage relationships as well as assets – we care about the things that matter to us. You know this from your private life. If you didn't care about your most valuable assets, such as your kids, spouse, friends, car, boat or whatever they may be, it’s not hard to imagine what could happen: your kids would go totally out of control, your spouse and friends would leave you, your car would break down and your boat would sink. The same goes for any company – private or public – across any industry: we need to manage the things we care about, or to put it differently, we manage our assets.
So what are the important assets in your company? Most likely they are employees, products, buildings, capital, infrastructure, etc. These are all fairly tangible assets in the sense that we can hire and retire employees, we can buy and sell products, and we may invest in various markets and products and so on. We see dedicated ownership of all of these assets through various senior executives in finance, HR, IT, manufacturing and other business units. But who owns the data? If you, as many others do, consider data to be the product of your processes, data should be one of your most important assets, if not the most important. Additionally, data is one of our longest sustaining assets, since it was there yesterday and it will be there tomorrow. You don't dispose of data that represents value to your business. People in the organization say they care about the data, but do they really? If caring means to focus, to be responsible and accountable, to define the one version of the data that meets the enterprise’s needs, then odds are nobody in your organization cares enough about data.
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