There is a pervasive belief that a single version of truth–eliminating data siloes by consolidating all enterprise data in a consistent, non-redundant form – remains the technology-equivalent to the Holy Grail. And, the advent of big data is making it even harder to realize. However, even though SVOT is difficult or impossible to achieve today, beginning the journey is still a worthwhile business goal.

The road to SVOT is paved with very good intentions. SVOT has provided the major justification over the past 20 years for building enterprise data warehouses, and billions of dollars have been spent on relational databases, ETL tools and BI technologies. Millions of resource hours have been expended in construction and maintenance of these platforms, yet no organization is able to achieve SVOT on a sustained basis. Why? Because new data sources, either sanctioned or rogue, are continually being introduced, and existing data is subject to decay of quality over time. As much as 25 percent of customer demographic data, including name, address, contact info, and marital status changes every year. Also, today’s data is more dispersed and distributed and even “bigger” (volume, variety, velocity) than it has ever been.

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