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Data quality management: Building the business case

When trying to build a business case for a data quality management initiative, what should I focus on in order to justify the investment?

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The first step to building your data quality management business case is to try to quantify the cost of poor quality data on the business. This needs to be written in business language and not technology-speak. In other words, what is the cost of a lost sale because product information was incorrect? Do you have a way to identify these cases? Even anecdotal evidence can be powerful if you are talking to the manager of the product line that lost the sale.

I realize that the cost of finding these problems can be enormous, too. It can help to have some industry expert help. I would recommend that you purchase and read any of the several excellent books that Thomas C. Redman has written. These books focus on the data quality problems and have some facts and figures on average cost of poor quality data to business. For more in-depth and technical treatments of data quality management issues I would direct you to books written by Jack Olson and Larry English.

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This was first published in July 2006

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