Thursday, November 19, 2009


Apologies for the inconvenience, but my site has moved. All my postings in this blog are in my new site, which I hope will give you a much better experience.

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Sunday, November 1, 2009

A well-oiled machine is critical to Data Quality

The beauty of human beings is that people will look for creative ways to solve their problems. That means, when users have technical problems or run into business limitations during data entry, they will find ways to do it, even if it means breaking business rules or overriding well defined processes. From a Data Quality perspective, that is not a good thing, but who is to blame the users? After all, they may be facing a particular customer need that doesn't fit an existing business process, or a system bug that is delaying a high profit transaction.

Let's assume you organization does have all elements in place, such as Data Governance, Data Stewardship, Data Quality, IT support, etc. Users are less likely to engage the proper teams if their confidence in the support process is low. They may think: “oh boy, by the time I get this problem resolved through the proper mechanisms, it will be too long and I'll have a customer satisfaction issue beyond repair.” Therefore, for the “benefit” of the organization, they act with imagination and solve the immediate problem with non-approved solutions. Making matters worse, detecting these out-of-spec practices and associated data issues are sometimes difficult to monitor and correct.

With that said, your goal as an organization should be not only to have the proper elements of a well governed organization, but have them working effectively as well. That comes with maturity, and a constant focus on process improvement. Simply improving your data entry process alone is not enough. You have to improve the support process around it. Just about everything is constantly changing: business needs, business landscape, technology, people, etc. Your only hope is to have an efficiently adaptive model that in spite of all these changes, can continue to deliver results quickly. Let's focus our creativity on this problem, and be really dull when it comes down to being creative breaking business rules!