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Data the life blood.......

by Justin York

Often referred to as the lifeblood of an organisation, the data is incredibly important to an organisations bottom line and reputation. Lose one and you may lose the other. While this is true for many organisations, many of them continue to treat data as something that is always there, or is always right, after all it's in a system so how can it possibly be wrong!

Given all that information we still find data that is poor, for example just the other day I received two letters from a major financial organisation, from different departments and yet the information contained in just the headers was different.Now I thought that strange and yet why should I, banks and building societies amongst many others have grown up in a way that allows them to create their own databases.The effort involved with coordinating or synchronising those databases is great and yet the benefit would greatly outweigh the cost!

Given that organisations would rather accept this poor data than put it right you have to question the statement that it is the lifeblood of an organisation.

I ask that question quite a lot and I often find that the main reason for data being mistakenly labelled as the life blood is simply because the people that create, process and report using the data do not understand its value.If they did they would take a great deal more care of it.So what is it then that makes people understand its value:

Communicate how valuable the data is and impressing them how important it is that they take good care of it.

Demonstrate where poor data quality is found and more importantly the causes of poor data quality.

Once you know the causes, communicate the ways in which it can be corrected.

Highlight the benefits of keeping the data of high quality, highlight the potential fines and effects

Make them responsible for its quality and status.Have a league table that shows how the critical data is performing.

Above all, get yourself some champions that are willing to be evangelists, they will keep the data right and with a little effort get everyone else to join in

There are of course many technical ways of controlling the data and they should all be employed.You know that's great, but in the final analysis, it is the people that create it, manipulate it, analyse it and report on it.Get the people on side, make them care and the data will almost come like their own blood, essential for life!