Slideshow How to Make the Case for Data Quality

  • March 22 2012, 7:15am EDT

Put Data Quality ROI in Business Terms

It might sound obvious, but ask the people directly responsible for making business decisions. By doing this, you may realize that marketing's goal is to increase direct brand awareness, or that sales wants to bump up conversion rates as well as grow its pool of potential clients. Once you understand how these groups measure performance, you will also understand the areas in which improvements should be made.

Own the Data

Bad data and the paralysis created by poor data can impact IT and the business equally, so, ultimately, it's not an either/or issue. Get everyone on the same page and ensure that IT understands how the business uses and measures data and business leaders understand the impact that quality data can have on bottom line results.

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Identify and Categorize Anomalies

From there, analyze the data and identify anomalies. This is where a data profiling tool can be indispensable. By profiling data, it's easy to reveal its content, quality and structure with minimal effort. Data profiling will also help you identify actual problems with the data as it relates to business needs. Categorize data quality into six data groups to make the results easily digestible for IT and business – completeness, conformity, consistency, accuracy, duplication and integrity.

Find the Business Impact of Aberrations

After profiling the data and identifying anomalies, it becomes critical to work with decision-makers to understand the effect the anomalies will have on the business. Consider the following example. A profile of customer sales data shows that 8 percent of the records have inoperable or missing phone numbers. How does that impact the ability to up-sell or cross-sell your other line-of-business products to existing customers. Chances are, if business leaders knew at the start of the month that their sales force's operational ceiling would at best be 92 percent efficiency, there would be quite a bit of explaining to do to senior leadership.

State the Case for Data Quality

When stating the case for data quality, it pays to draw a link between how a lack of quality data can adversely affect the operational efficiency of an organization as well as the accuracy of business decisions. Now that the data has been compiled, analyzed, categorized and flagged for known anomalies, the case can effectively be made to increase data quality practices.

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For a full article on this aspect of data quality by Ed Lindsey, click here. And check out our landing page for specific news and expert insight in the realm of data quality.