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Building a data quality business case: Issues with poor data quality

I'm trying to build a business case for data quality tools. In your work and travels, what have you found to be the most common and major issues that come with unclean and bad data?

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I do a good bit of writing on this subject on the DataFlux Community of Experts forum, so I'll just summarize some major points here. To be honest, though, I've read data management books that do far greater justice to your question than any reasonably short answer could.

Before building your data quality business case, it's important to know that poor data quality inhibits optimal decision making and costs businesses billions of dollars per year, according to various estimates. That's billions with a "B." Second, I'd also say that data quality issues cause many new system implementations to fail outright. Third, data quality efforts typically are best performed on a regular, as opposed to a one-off, basis. Don't make the mistake of thinking that you can magically fix data quality issues once and that's that. Like termites, they have a tendency to come back if not addressed at a cultural level within an organization.

This was first published in March 2010

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