Yes, Millie, Even CEOs Are Interested in Data Quality
Some think that no two words can cause a chief executive officer's eyes to glass over faster than "data quality" (and this applies to heads of government agencies, leaders of nonprofit organizations, etc.). "Data," aren't they the boring bits and bytes buried in our computer systems? And "quality," isn't that the implication that our people aren't working hard enough?
Besides, people have real work to do, customers to satisfy, production schedules to meet, decisions to make, strategies to map out, a demanding board to answer. Who wants to worry about those bits and bytes when no one is complaining?
But CEOs are (or should be) passionately interested in data quality and for a wide variety of reasons.
First, bad data can earn the CEO and his or her organization a place in the national news and who needs that? The bombing of the Chinese Embassy is the most publicized recent example. But it happens more frequently than one might think.
Fortunately most cases of bad data do not land the organization or its leader on the front page. Unfortunately, poor quality data seems to be the norm. As CEOs know, the costs of poor quality data are enormous. Some costs, such as added expense and lost customers, are relatively easy to spot, if the organization looks. We suggest (based on a small number of careful, but proprietary studies), as a working figure, that these costs are roughly 10 percent of revenue for a typical organization. To date, no one, in hundreds of discussions, has suggested that this number is "way too high." CEOs naturally want to return these monies to the bottom line.
- Read the rest of this chapter: Data quality: Why management should care about bad data
- Read other excertps from data management books in the Chapter Download Library.