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March 21, 2008

Stop Accusing IT for Dirty Data

Filed under: Data Cleansing, Data Quality — Tags: , — Alena Semeshko @ 4:19 am

IT is the easiest to blame for drawbacks and holes in your data, that’s no news. Whenever you don’t get the results and the information you need (provided your business processes are set to present you with quality data), you naturally start looking for someone or something to blame. And IT seems to be the perfect scapegoat. Little do we realize that the problems lie in the business, not in IT.

The thing is, we associate data with IT, consider it a part of IT and don’t realize the two are totally different. Gartner research VP Ted Friedman suggest the solution that should keep the blame off of IT and cause less data quality problems:

“Business needs to be in the driver’s seat,” Friedman said. “At the moment we feel that the focus on the topic is way way too much in the IT camp.”

To advance data quality, Friedman suggests the use of a data steward, who is responsible for benchmarking current levels of data quality and measuring the impact on the business of bad data. The data steward looks at the data transfer processes, making sure, for instance, that the data passes through as few people as possible.

Data stewards will come from a business background, but have good relations to IT, Friedman said. They will only be effective if they are held accountable for their progress, and receive bonuses for meeting quality targets.

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