Dirty data is costing U.S. businesses $600 billion a year, suggests new research from the Data Warehousing Institute. “In recent years, the failure and delays of many high profile IT projects as a result of unanticipated data quality problems is causing executives to wake up to the real cost of poor quality data,” says TDWI director of education and research Wayne Eckerson.

According to the report – Data Quality and the Bottom Line – survey responses from more than 600 companies indicate that slightly more than 25 percent have purchased a data quality tool in the past three years to five years. An additional 25 percent say they are evaluating or purchasing a tool this year. "Outside of scrubbing name and address data, many organizations today use home-grown tools to automate data quality activities," the report says. "Companies use SQL to audit data files and custom developed programs to clean and monitor data quality, but many companies have not yet felt the need to purchase a packaged data quality tool to clean or monitor non name and address data. This may change as data quality vendors expand their offerings."

U.S companies know they have a problem with dirty data, but many CIOs still aren’t making it a top priority. “Many of them they take a ‘thumb in the dike’ approach,” says Jim Lair, chief executive officer of The Center for Data Quality, www.C4DQ.com, in Reston, Va. “The CIO is responsible for providing quality information, but they won’t have that if they don’t eliminate dirty data.”

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