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Who's responsible for data quality? Everyone

Richard Jones Archive

There's a glaring disconnect that exists in the business community today, and it relates to analytics. Everyone in every corner of the typical enterprise understands the value of data quality - they know they need a great deal of detailed consumer information in order to perform analyses and uncover key truths, and they agree that that info needs to be accurate. The problem, though, is that no one has established accountability for data quality within the business.

Whose job is it to make sure internal information is accurate? Does that responsibility fall solely to IT, since the office technicians are the ones who often manage the storage and access of data? Does it instead fall to the marketers or salespeople who primarily stand to benefit from data analysis? Or, alternatively, is data quality a value that should begin from the very top, with the leaders in the C-suite setting standards and enforcing them?

There's no clear answer. Everyone in an organization should have some sort of stake in maintaining and using high-quality data, but once you ask people to put in the work, it's tough to find someone willing to step up.

According to Business 2 Community, the problem is that a lot of finger-pointing happens, and no one actually gets the job done. This person thinks that data quality is that person's job, but that person assigned it to the other person, and the other person was waiting on lord-knows-who-else to do it for them. In the end, nothing happens.

Martin Doyle, who founded data quality solutions firm DQ Global in 2002, told the news source that there's an ideal solution to this problem: Everyone should take accountability together. After all, everyone in a company stands to benefit from better data quality, so why shouldn't they all collaborate to make it happen?

"Poor data quality significantly impacts your bottom line, so it's a business problem, not exclusively a problem for IT, marketing or any other user," Doyle argued. "By taking control of data quality, companies have a real opportunity to reduce costs, increase efficiency and dramatically improve their market positioning. The impact on the organization, from the improvement to the bottom line through eliminating postal waste and data scrap and rework, through to making better-informed decisions based on accurate data, better customer care, lifetime value and improved brand image, is substantial."

Just think of the ways that every single corner of an enterprise can benefit from a higher level of quality in their corporate data.

Business financiers
People in charge of corporate money matters need to make intelligent long-term decisions as they forecast the future of the enterprise. Having accurate data will help them budget effectively both short-term and long. Therefore, they should help make it happen.

Marketing professionals
In marketing, there's a constant need to connect with customers by sending them all sorts of messages - direct mailings, emails, social media updates. If you have bad information about how to get in touch with people, that's a problem. Marketers need to alleviate this issue through data.

Customer service representatives
Every company has an interest in increasing customer satisfaction. Unfortunately, there's an easy way to make consumers disgruntled with your brand - make mistakes in consumer care based on faulty information about them. There's no doubt that good CRM data makes a difference.

Corporate leaders
Finally, the people at the very top have a definite interest in better data. Business intelligence is a major component of effective leadership these days, but it only works if the data that goes in is strong. Therefore, the C-suite needs to lead the way when it comes to data quality.