That’s right – I’ve been part of the problem – specifically the data quality problem. We’ve all done it – rushing through fields on web pages, skipping lines on forms, and short-cutting quality in the interest of time at every opportunity. Prior to joining IBM, I spent nearly ten years of my professional career delivering and marketing enterprise solutions for CRM and ERP – and we did basically nothing to come to terms with the quality of data that drove our customers’ business.
This is why I’m compelled to talk about data quality – I’ve seen it from both sides, I’ve seen the pain and inefficiencies it creates, I’ve wasted untold hours searching for information in CRM applications. Sound familiar?
I usually pick on salespeople when I talk about customer data quality. Why? They’re an easy target. By their very nature, they’re compensated on selling – not on quality data entry. As a result we end up with data that is fraught with errors and duplicates.
Who is to blame? Maybe we’re all responsible. That said it’s not fair to pick on IT – they’re the caretakers (zookeepers?) of the data. Responsible for the care and feeding of this asset we call data – but they don’t own it. Ownership is best attributed to the folks whose cause all of these systems were at one time designed to support – the business process owner.
What can we do about it? I want to empower the business process owner or participant. This can be a powerful tool – give them seamless solutions which make data quality a natural by-product of their efforts. That’s what we should’ve been doing all along, right? We can do this with pre-built solutions that integrate directly to solutions like SAP and Siebel – and also by leveraging technologies like Services Oriented Architectures to create an environment of “data quality everywhere”.
I want to be part of the solution – don’t you?
Thanks for checking out my first blog entry – in the coming months we’ll explore topics that affect the cause that is data quality. I’ll discuss metadata, data governance, and some of my firsthand experiences trying to make the world safe for data quality.