Queensland Police Service Case Study: Use Your Bad Data To Build A Compelling Data Quality Business Case

Some might think that building a data quality business case is difficult and complicated – but it doesn’t have to be.

Graeme Campbell, former manager of the client services group at Queensland Police Service (QPS) in Australia

At InformaticaWorld, I had the pleasure of meeting Graeme Campbell, ex manager of the client services group at Queensland Police Service (QPS) in Australia, where he delivered a compelling presentation titled, Queensland Police Drive Out Crime with Informatica. My key takeaway: build a simple, business-focused and results-oriented business case that inspires action.

After profiling the citizen data in their mission-critical systems, Graeme knew it could be better. It was inaccurate, incomplete and duplicated. In fact, there were many instances of poor quality person records within their corporate system – from simple typos (such as George/Goerge, Steven/Stephen), to misidentified genders and mistyped Date of Birth (DOB).

Graeme knew that bad data was one of the root causes of some of the operational issues facing QPS and causing users to mistrust the accuracy of the data. By using Informatica, he was able to identify and merge over one million records. He calculated that if they decided to fix these data quality issues manually – rather than leverage Informatica Data Quality and Informatica Identity Resolution– it would take 99 years and $5.5M in labor costs.

The key to inspiring action was articulating these business pains to the people that mattered most. When Graeme began building his business case, he kept his audience in mind.  The head of QPS’ organization is the Commissioner of Police. Needless to say the Commissioner’s top priority wasn’t the quality of data in his organization, but rather citizen safety. Knowing this, Graeme made sure he spoke their language when making his business case to senior executives.

Bad data was polluting applications, preventing them from achieving their vision of operational excellence.

In fact, he used an analogy when talking to his business counterparts so they could wrap their minds around the problem and “see it” for what it was. He called QPS’ bad data “pollution.” The applications they bought to streamline their operations and enable them to be the best police force they could be were like pristine lakes. But bad data was polluting these applications, preventing them from achieving their vision of operational excellence.

Rather than attempt the “boil the ocean” approach, Graeme decided to start with QPS’ most pressing business problems. He focused on two key benefits that Queensland Police Service would gain by implementing Informatica Data Quality to improve their citizen data:

  1. Better protecting police officers from violent criminals by ensuring warnings were placed against the appropriate person record
  2. Contributing accurate data to other agencies within the state and nationally

Business Case Point #1:
Better protecting police officers from violent criminals

Imagine you’re a police officer. You’re on your way to respond to a domestic dispute. You want to have confidence in the correctness and completeness of the information about this person and others living in the household. Do they or others in this household have a previous criminal record? Do they own a weapon? Are they likely to be violent when approached? Without a single trusted citizen view and the ability see the relationships between citizens, it was difficult for QPS to protect its police officers from violent criminals

Business Case Point #2:
Contributing accurate data to other agencies around the country

QPS was about to participate in a new initiative to share offender data with other agencies within the Justice Sector. By completing data cleansing before sharing their data, QPS felt they would be able to track offenders through the criminal justice system more effectively. But if QPS didn’t have a single trusted citizen view in their own systems, how could sharing polluted information create any mutual benefits? Graeme made the case to clean up their own data first, before sharing it with others.

Graeme also saw the need for a single trusted view of citizens. As a prerequisite to building a business case, a Proof of Concept was performed using Informatica MDM which identified over $21M of outstanding fines that could be collected by matching and enriching poor quality person records.

I was really inspired by Graeme’s presentation and grateful that he shared his approach to building a business case for improving data quality. If you are in the process of building a business case, I hope Graeme’s story provides you with some new ideas and inspiration.

Do you need help building a business case for data quality?  Have you successfully built a business case and want to share your experience with others? Please share your thoughts. I’m interested in hearing from you. In the meantime, if you want to learn more about how to build a compelling data quality or master data management business case, you may want to:

  • Read this Blog: Building an Effective Business Case for MDM which includes tips such as “communicating clearly in language the business speaks, not with lots of IT acronyms or obtuse architectural diagrams or terms like schema or logical data model. That means outlining the business impact of bad data—its lost opportunity costs, its drag on productivity, and the bad decisions based on it.”
  • Contact Informatica Australia to learn more on building a business case or to see a live demo. Phone (02) 8907-4400 or info-au@informatica.com
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