Missing specialists cost South Africa spot in final – See more at: http://www.masterdata.co.za/index.php/news/87-mdm-insights/251-missing-specialists-cost-south-africa-spot-in-final#sthash.dMygrwlU.dpuf

Souith Africa, the world number one Test cricket team, were bundled out of the Champions Trophy last week after a comprehensive loss to England in the semi-final. It is easy to label this result as yet another example of this team “choking” at the crunch stage of a major international tournament.

Yet, in reality, the team struggled all through the event, losing to India and sneaking a tie with the West Indies that was good enough to get them into the semi-final. For a team that has, arguably, come off the best year of their life this was not a great tournament.

If we look at the team playing in this event, it featured a number of key changes from the team that has played most of the year. Stalwarts, in key positions, such as opening batsman, all rounder, and the leaders of the bowling attack were not available – whether through injuries or for other reasons.

Any team is only as good as the sum of its parts.With very rare exceptions, however, a team of reasonably good players will always loose to similar team that contains one or two world class specialists. When these key players are not available to fill specific roles then a that wold class team can quickly be made to look ordinary.

The lesson for data management – build your team around a core of focused, experienced professionals who have a track record of delivery in core areas. If you cannot find these as permanent staff the consider bringing in external consultants with the goal of guiding your internal team and providing skills transfer.

Similarly, consider the impact of mediocrity on your technical architecture. Not every element needs to be game changing – but ensuring that key elements are world class can have a massive positive impact on time to value and the overall effectiveness of any solution. Core components, such as data integration, data quality and data governance tools should ideally scale to fill multiple gaps in the enterprise architecture.

Solutions should be examined for their fit across the entire spectrum to ensure a consistent application of data standards – whether in batch or real time, on the mainframe, for the ERP application, or for the Web.

A strong, experienced team, supported by enterprise software platforms, is critical to ensure that your data management project does not choke.

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