Trillium Software, a business of Harte-Hanks and a leading enabler of total data quality solutions, revealed results of a new survey that suggest while few organizations currently have an enterprise strategy in place to manage the quality of their data assets; change is forecast within two years as senior executives expand their involvement.

The survey of 216 information professionals, administered by Harte-Hanks Trillium Software among attendees of industry-sponsored data management events in the United Kingdom, United States and Australia/Asia-Pacific, found that 51 percent of organizations represented among the respondents run localized data quality initiatives ad hoc. At this time, just 14.5 percent of those surveyed were tackling data quality using a coordinated management led enterprise strategy.

More positively, those surveyed reported that management is likely to show greater interest in the near future: 75 percent of respondents said data quality tackled strategically, according to a multidivisional or enterprise-wide plan, represents a "best practice" and 79 percent state that senior management will become more involved in data quality governance within two years.

"Isolated data quality initiatives may work at the tactical level," said Phil Howard, research director - technology at Bloor Research, "but they do little to support an enterprise view of the business and they do little to prepare data later for enterprise integration, since the standards used are often inconsistent. What is needed is a more holistic approach that will support data governance initiatives that span the whole organisation."

"We anticipate more corporate-wide planning for data quality than exists today," said Ed Wrazen, vice president, marketing, international, Harte-Hanks Trillium Software. "Our findings suggest that while the majority of organizations are engaged in data quality initiatives, these activities to date are mostly ad hoc, disparate CRM, supply chain, employee information and compliance projects."

"According to the survey, information management professionals are asserting that best practice demands that a much more strategic approach is taken to data quality," Wrazen said. "They believe that within two years top management will inevitably become the driving force for enterprise-wide data quality strategies that properly support enterprise performance and compliance."

The survey also revealed uncertainty amongst information professionals as to who actually owns responsibility for ensuring data is of good quality; a finding which suggests that in some firms, no one person or department may be held accountable for it at all, Wrazen said. This could taint the accuracy and credibility of information used in key business processes among them corporate governance, prompting greater executive-level attention.

The Harte-Hanks Trillium Software survey was conducted during 2005 and early 2006 at data management industry events around the world which included DAMA, IDQ, the IQ Network Forum, ARK Group's data quality conference and others.

The full survey report can be downloaded from http://www.trilliumsoftware.com/survey.

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