Poor Data Quality Seen as Serious Risk to Business Health

Failure by businesses to assess data quality could have damaging consequences, Butler Group reports

Failure by businesses to assess data quality could have damaging consequences, Butler Group reports

Hull, UK — December 3, 2004 — Data quality and integrity will rise to the top of the corporate and information technology (IT) agenda in 2005 as organizations discover that they lack the ability to diagnose just how bad their data are, according to a new report from U.K.-based IT consultancy Butler Group.

Driven by the needs of external compliance regulations and internal corporate governance requirements, businesses are having to ensure data accuracy, Butler Group points out in its "Report on Data Quality and Integrity."

Meanwhile, more businesses are deploying enterprise-wide business intelligence (BI) applications that are allowing staff, partners and customers to view and manipulate data. Where "power users" could manage rogue data, these new users are unable to do so and present the risk of compounding the problem.

The only way to improve data quality is for the issue to be "owned" by the business, Butler advises. IT departments may enact the solution but lack the capability to address the problem. A board-level mandate is required to effectively push this through, with the chief information officer acting as the intermediary between the business and the IT department.

"If you do not have a focused data quality strategy in place, then you have to assume that you have a data quality problem," Butler writes. "However, an enterprise-wide strategy is only needed for identifying the areas of the business that are affected by poor data, and those whose need is greatest. Technology solutions should only then be applied to these areas, as the cost and complexity of ensuring high quality data throughout the organization is both prohibitive and unnecessary."

Investment in data quality can have positive return on investment (ROI), the consultancy said. "It is not just something that will satisfy the auditors but is also an opportunity to drive added benefit, making processes more streamlined," Butler reports.