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Reality Check

Insights from a data quality master class

As I sat in a central London conference room in the run-up to the Experian Data Quality master class event I found myself scanning the name badges of those sitting closest to me. It surprised me to see how frequently the word ‘data’ featured in the participant’s job titles. There were Data Systems Designers, Data Improvement Managers, Brand Data Managers, Customer Data Co-ordinators, just to name a few.  This confirmed an important theory which was raised throughout the course of the day, the fact that there is a paradigm shift in how organisations are beginning to view and tackle the broad topic of data quality. Traditionally a responsibility that sat primarily within the I.T. function; today, it is a growing business-wide concern that crosses departments and functions.

As the discussions began and we shared our various data quality challenges across the table it was interesting to hear of the different trigger points that had driven most attendees to today's session. Most were here to understand how they could analyse, improve and control the quality of their data, initiated out of compliance or risk concerns. For many others a recent data migration had provided the perfect opportunity to review their data quality and embark on a data cleansing and improvement programme.  Although the reasons were fairly broad, the overall consensus was that most organisations were still in the early stages of their data quality journey, analysing and building the business case for improvements.

A few organisations did stand out. To our surprise, a participant at our table stood up and revealed that her organisation had managed to meet 97% in their key data quality KPIs and were looking to further improve this figure. The vital advice that she imparted to the group was the importance of having business-wide backing for any data quality improvement plans, particularly support that is driven down and enforced by senior stakeholders. When we further assessed which steps in the data quality journey this organisation had ticked, it was very clear that they had gone through a thorough assessment of their data; they had employed numerous tools and processes to continually improve data quality and most importantly were monitoring and controlling it over time.  

For any organisations just starting out on their data quality journey, you can read further into the realities and practices employed by the master class attendees in tackling their data quality challenges. Hosting analyst firm, Creative Intellect Consulting (CIC) have prepared an overview report from the master class which summarises key findings and strategies reported on the day.