To say Kirsten Johnson is detail-oriented would be an understatement—and for that we’re grateful. Because when it comes to managing the vast amount of digital information needed to successfully run a global corporation, the value is in the details.
With a well-established background in master data governance, business administration, and data analysis, Kirsten joined Kohler Co. with the goal of transforming the company’s data into truly usable insights. While extensive data certainly existed, she discovered two primary challenges. First, because many associates spend their entire careers at Kohler Co., they often have an exceptional wealth of knowledge that’s “in their heads,” not documented on spreadsheets. Second, with the digitalization and globalization of our business, new data fields are created across different functions and regions constantly, but these new attributes and their definitions are not always standardized.
“It all comes down to definitions,” Kirsten explains. “If you want to report how many toilets you sold, you need to define what one toilet is. How can we make sure that we count a toilet that is in two pieces (tank and bowl) only once? Having standard definitions and rules allows me to shine the light on where data is wrong.” Clean data is key to ensuring data is usable throughout the company. “You want to compare apples to apples and not throw in oranges.”
She describes her role as a mix of IT and business liaison: “We can’t do anything without understanding the business’ processes and its data in various systems. If I change something like a customer name, where do I need to change it? In the source system or in many places? And who can change it under which circumstances?” By deeply understanding these processes and data impact, she can create a situation where her colleagues are able to understand and trust the data and clearly understand who’s responsible for which actions.
And it’s this keen eye for detail that allows teams to seamlessly update and share information in real time, making Kohler more efficient and more globally effective.
“I find the challenges of data standardization and data governance exciting. It is laying the foundation to run and analyze the business. I am happy to be part of unlocking this digital transformation at Kohler Co.”