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Organisations fail to protect international data quality

Organisations fail to protect  international data quality

A new report and survey commissioned by Capscan, a leading supplier of international address management solutions and data quality services, has today revealed that there has been little progress on the most important aspects of International Data Quality Management (IDQM) within organisations across the world and businesses still fail to realise the true strategic value of data.

Following Capscan’s first study into IDQM in 2008, the new report identified that although organisations perceived the quality of their International contact data to be sufficient, few have the necessary processes, tools or strategic will to protect its integrity.

The report, Data Quality: Reality and Rhetoric, reveals a mixed picture of data quality management in the organisations surveyed, which primarily consisted of senior management personnel, working in IT.

Optimism about the quality of their International contact data has risen amongst organisations surveyed (57.7% of respondents viewed their data as being of excellent or good quality – up 5.7% from 2008), with 88.6% also agreeing that data quality within an organisation is something of real importance and value to a business, stating it as either fairly or very important.

However, the results reveal a concerning disparity almost identical to that found in the 2008 study, with only 38.8% of those surveyed claiming that a data quality management strategy was in place in the organisation (down from 41.1% in 2008).

Independent analyst, data management expert and author of the report, Graham Rhind, comments: “The results show a great deal of similarity with the 2008 survey, suggesting that change and improvement is not happening as quickly as it could. The results suggest that whilst data quality is viewed as important by many respondents, the integration of data quality practices into the daily life of those companies is not common and there is a great deal of room for improvement at a strategic level.”

He continues: “The gap between recognition and action remains disappointingly wide. However, there is promise that some of the more forward thinking organisations surveyed have invested in various appropriate IDQM technologies. The most popular technologies used amongst surveyed organisations include address validation, identity management solutions, de-duplication and banking validation software.”

The report also found that most organisations surveyed see data quality management as primarily the responsibility of those involved in IT and marketing (48.1%, reflecting a similar view in 2008 at 48.9%), and of sufficient importance to merit the attention of senior management.

In reality, almost every person within an organisation – certainly all of those who contribute to and consume from data resources – must understand the importance of maintaining data quality to the future of their company, and their part in that process.

The report also identified some of the primary sources for poor data quality as data decay over time (61.4%), inadequate data entry by employees (58.2%) and customers (24.5%). In all three cases, the organisation has the power to improve results through technological implementation (e.g. validation software), procedural business process improvement and training.

A great deal of control can be placed on data entry systems through the use of dynamic forms, validation, dialogue with the customer and a better analysis of data being gathered. These are problems which companies could begin to address today and which will have major positive effects on data quality.

Managing Director of Capscan, Terry Hiles, remarks: “It is fair to say that the results of the survey are somewhat concerning, as there has clearly been very little change in putting data quality management into practice from 2008 to 2010.

"Budget cuts may have affected spending on IT initiatives across the board, but as a great deal of data quality improvement can be achieved through, for example, better business processes, it is clear that organisations do not truly understand the benefits of data quality management.

"The gap between the organisations stating that they have a data quality management strategy and those putting that strategy into practice is still fairly large.”

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