The importance of data quality

Posted by Justin Hesser on July 29, 2013

An organization is only as strong as the quality of the information is possesses. This has become increasingly clear as data has become digitized and companies have utilized a massive amount of resources to manage big data strategies and protect the integrity of their information.

Businesses decisions based off of poor data likely won't be the right choices. If companies want to succeed, they have to ensure that the information they capture, manage, store and use to generate reports is not only accurate, but is presented in a way that leaves little room for error.

Data cannot be misinterpreted

That's one aspect of data quality that must be understood. Just because all the information is there and it's correct doesn't mean it will be used correctly. A company's financial data could be correct and up-to-date, but if it's stored or presented in a way that's difficult to understand, decision makers, analysts or any other professional tasked with utilizing that information could have the wrong impression of it, thus compromising the integrity of that decision.

Ultimately, user-friendliness is a valuable component of a big data strategy. The easier it is for users to understand, the better the chances are that it will be managed properly. This is different than data security, as information should be impenetrable by outside forces. However, when appropriate parties do access data, they shouldn't have to question its meaning.

Data quality requires collaboration

An article in the online publication Diginomica addresses the issue of data quality and provides a number of tips to help promote the value of business information. One important fact for companies to understand is that data quality requires a collaborative effort from both the IT and business management side.

"Don't label data quality as an IT issue and not a business issue," writes Nigel Turner, the article's author. "It is both. While the technology of data quality is often implemented and maintained by IT staff, it is the business user that benefits most. Just consider the example of clean, well-managed customer records. The business user also understands the meaning and usage of the data in the context of each application."

All of these factors can go a long way toward ensuring the quality of information, but it must be managed with the right technology. Building a custom database software system will allow companies to enhance data quality, which will ultimately help them become more successful and profitable organizations.