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Poor data quality is the 'antihero' of IT

Paul Newman Archive

One of the most exciting aspects of a comic book isn't the superhero - it's the villain. When you pick up an issue of Batman, you're not just reading it to see the adventures of Bruce Wayne - you also want to see what the Joker is up to. Without the villain, there's no conflict, and without conflict, there's no story. Therefore, a great narrative doesn't just need a hero. It needs an antihero as well.

Jim Harris, data quality guru and curator of the OCDQ Blog, has an interesting idea - poor data quality is like the antihero of the narrative in information technology. Big data analytics might be the hero, but without quality assurance issues, there's no meat to the story.

Ensuring the accuracy of corporate information is a major focus for any business that collects data. Analytical objectives can often be the greatest factor setting a company apart from its competitors, and in order to truly get a leg up, companies need to outdo their rivals with regard to getting the information right. Therefore, data quality is paramount.

"The supervillain is really the story's focal point, providing the obstacle the superhero must overcome. No offense intended to the good guys, but without bad guys doing bad things, there would be no story worth telling," Harris writes. "Perhaps poor quality is data's antihero - a central character lacking some of the conventional heroic attributes but nonetheless benefits the greater good, albeit not always by the most noble means possible."

Harris notes that according to Gartner research, companies are pouring $2 billion per year into data quality technologies. This industry is creating jobs, fueling economic growth and encouraging innovation in technology.

Data might be the hero of the current IT era, but without quality issues, the story would be a little boring.