If you regularly read this column, I suspect you are someone who is involved in improving data quality within your company. You have probably had business partners or customers tell you that your data is bad. On some occasions, they have almost certainly used words that are considerably worse than bad. These are interesting interactions, and there is absolutely nothing constructive that you can do as a result of these discussions. The description “bad data,” or something more emotional, is simply too general to be valuable. It’s as if you went to your doctor to tell her that you have a terrible headache, but you could not be specific about the nature of the pain, its location, frequency and other symptoms that would be useful for a diagnosis.


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