Driven by the needs of external compliance regulations and internal corporate governance requirements, businesses are having to ensure data accuracy. This has been combined with the fact that more businesses are deploying enterprise-wide Business Intelligence (BI) applications that are allowing staff, partners, and customers to view and manipulate data. Where 'power users' could manage rogue data, these new users are unable to do so and present the risk of compounding the problem. Over the next year, Butler Group predicts that the issue of data quality and ensuring data integrity will shoot up the corporate and IT agenda with most organisations discovering that they lack the ability to diagnose just how bad their data is.
Butler Group's Report on Data Quality and Integrity makes the following points and recommendations:
* The only way to improve data quality is for the issue to be 'owned' by the business. IT departments may enact the solution but lack the capability to address the problem. A board-level mandate is required to effectively push this through with the CIO acting as the intermediary between the business and the IT department.
* If you do not have a focused data quality strategy in place then you have to assume that you have a data quality problem. However, an enterprise-wide strategy is only needed for identifying the areas of the business that are affected by poor data, and those whose need is greatest. Technology solutions should only then be applied to these areas as the cost and complexity of ensuring high quality data throughout the organisation is both prohibitive and unnecessary.
* Investment in data quality can have positive Return on Investment (ROI). It is not just something that will satisfy the auditors but is also an opportunity to drive added benefit, making processes more streamlined.