Editor’s Note: This is the first article in a series focusing on assessing data quality issues. The next installment will be published on Friday, September 22, 2000, in DMReview.com’s online columnist section ( http://www.dmreview.com/onlinecolumnists/)

About every two years, I pay a visit to my doctor for a routine check up; my last one was just a few months ago. I’m sure you know the routine – weight, blood pressure, pulse rate, EKG, a little probing here and there. But, the face-to-face encounter with my doctor was not the end of this saga. I was sent down the street to a lab where two vials of blood were drawn and sent for routine testing. The analysis of that blood give the doctor key measurements that would tip him off about the health of my bodily processes. For example, numerical measurements of my glucose, electrolytes, enzymes, proteins, blood fats and hormones that fall outside the normal range may indicate a problem with a specific part of my body. So, too, an examination of a corporation’s data can uncover flaws that indicate problems with the business processes that produce it.

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