Many Companies Not Securing Data Quality

A recent survey of 50 large companies by Cutter Consortium shows that nearly half are confident their data is accurate and timely and that 65 percent feel that management is committed to data quality. That's the good news.

But just over one-third of the respondents reported having a data quality program and only one-quarter of those surveyed said they have any education or training program on data quality issues. That's rather disappointing.

"It's hard to place much confidence in the 65 percent figure, since a much smaller percentage of companies actually have data quality measurement and reporting programs in place," says Cutter Consortium Technology Council Fellow Ken Orr. "One thing our survey shows is that most people don't know their data is of high quality, they just 'feel' it is."

According to Orr, organizations must put together a data quality program to determine how their data measures up. Orr adds that there are three main reasons why this practice is easier said than done:

* IT managers find it difficult to label data quality as a "problem" without at the same time admitting there is something wrong with their systems.

* IT managers are afraid to really look at their data quality, and be forced to change their current business plans.

* The costs of poor data quality are spread widely around the organizations.

"In the Internet Age, data quality is going to be a much more important issue," concludes Orr. "Ultimately, poor data quality is like dirt on the windshield. You may be able to drive for a long timewith slowly degrading vision, but at some point, you either have tostop and clear the windshield or risk everything."