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Data Quality – An Expanding Ring

I was talking to a customer the other day who is about to embark on a data quality quest.  He asked me to explain my view of a data quality initiative.  I explained to him that data quality is a never ending process.  I said it was like dropping a pebble in the water.  The initial ring is small but slowly expands outward.  The data quality process is similar.  You start small, with one application or one subject area, show some success then look to expand the process with additional applications or subject areas.  Then expand further to additional business units or business functions until you have encompassed the entire enterprise.  Then just when you think you’re done, you need to continue to monitor and repair data because it will degrade over time.

While what I said was true, he said that the business would reject that description out of hand.  Business believes that all IT projects are never ending projects.  It is this thought process that always pitches Business against IT.  Business believes that IT never delivers a finished project.  His analogy is that Data Quality is more like building a building.  It takes a lot of time and effort to get the foundation right, then you need to add the structure, electrical, water, communication, and finishing work.  Then you move in and begin to use the building but you’re not done. (more…)

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