You need a plan
When was the last time you thought about your data strategy? I hear people talking about data almost every day, but I rarely hear people articulate their data strategy. If there is no strategy for your data, that leaves hope; and hope isn't a strategy.
So what is data strategy? To understand it, first we need to understand data as it relates to your production activities. I think of data as answers to questions. Did it ship? How much did we book? These are examples of questions your data can answer. Of course, not just any answer will do. You want your answers to be correct. How do you insure your data is providing correct answers? That's where data strategy comes in. Here is a strategy I would suggest as a starting point: There should only be one source of data. If you are an ERP user, that source should be your ERP.
I know this sounds simple and fairly obvious, but I see this basic strategy violated all the time. An Access database here, a spreadsheet there, and next thing you know data is coming from ERP and numerous silos of data. Ironically, this is exactly the environment companies were trying to get away from when they bought their ERP system.
So why does this happen? Lots of reasons, but many of them fall under the seductive nature of the quick fix over a long term solution that doesn't violate the one data source strategy. To help fight this, have a data strategy. Make sure any proposed solution to a problem doesn't violate your strategy. Be aware that a quick fix is like sticking your finger in a dam. It's not the best long-term solution. The best long-term solution is using what you've already invested in – your ERP system.
If you'd like to have a conversation, contact me.