Exploiting the Crisis: Driving Data Quality Using Anecdotes

February 3, 2011 by
Filed under: Business Impacts, Data Quality 

Anyone who regularly reads this web site as well as my other media outlets knows that I am an advocate of clearly defining measures for assessing how poor data quality impacts the business. In fact, one of the main challenges of establishing a data quality program is effectively communicating the value of improved data quality to senior managers. You might think that showing some specific failures and their impacts would be enough to make the argument to invest in improvements, but unfortunately this is often not the case.
Management’s attention is more dramatically grabbed by catastrophic events. Acute disasters linked to data issues, ongoing horror stories, and even entertaining anecdotes will probably resonate with many people in the organization because of the drama as well as the chance for motivated individuals to react to the problem with a heroic effort that appears to save the day.

Anecdotes and crises are good as wake-up calls, but be aware that addressing the acute need may solve the immediate problem, but in reality it just allows a latent problems to fester until the next big crisis. The best of both worlds is to use a data catastrophe to catalyze a more comprehensive analysis of the business improvements that can be achieved through data quality management. You can leverage the crisis by developing a more discrete value proposition by:
• Identifying the key business impacts associated with poor data quality,
• Associating specific costs to specific data flaws and aggregating the costs as a function of the frequency of the occurrence of those flaws,
• Quantifying those impacts in relevant business terms,
• Assessing the costs to eliminate the sources of those flaws, and
• Identifying key data quality metrics for continual monitoring and reporting.
As I mentioned yesterday, I am working on a series of articles to help in developing the business case, so check out this description and then go download the paper.

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One Comment on Exploiting the Crisis: Driving Data Quality Using Anecdotes

    […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Jim Harris and Clarke Patterson, David Loshin. David Loshin said: Don't let a good #dataquality catastrophe go to waste. CHeck this out: http://bit.ly/ea9afj […]

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