You may have noticed we've slowed down our "In The Field" blog entries, but it's for a good reason. Last week, Baseline launched its latest e-book, co-authored by Baseline consultants and frequent bloggers, Carol Newcomb and Caryn Maresic.
The Data Quality eBook is both a cautionary tale and a nuts-and-bolts toolkit for bringing a set
of formalized data quality processes to your company. When the Central
Health Alliance discovers just how costly bad data can be, the health
care provider launches a data quality program that not only improves
servicesâ€”it can actually save lives. This e-book looks at data issues faced by companies across industries, and shows you
how to apply a step-by-step process to prevent over-investment in
untrustworthy data and drive business value in the bargain.
The book is currently available for download at Information-management.com.
And now, a brief excerpt from the book:
At Central Health Allianceâ€”as with many companiesâ€”protracted explanations and guesswork cede to manual effort. If there is a problem hidden in the data, an analyst will surely find it. The question is: how long will that take?
The problem with manual data exploration is that you’ve got a lot of dataâ€”probably a lot more than you know. Data is captured, copied and transformedâ€”it is everywhere in all shapes and forms. When digging through the data, where do you start? More importantly, where do you stop? Unfocused and manual data profiling might lead to interesting discoveries, but won’t get you a cohesive roadmap to better data quality. Moreover, it’s hardly scalable.
The right way to improve data quality is by focusing on four incremental steps:
Identify the Business Issue â€“ Defining the business issue and its impact on business operations, strategic goals, or decision making maintains focus for the remainder of this process. The scope of the business issue should be well understood. You might identify several related business issues that have bad data as their core. Or you might have a number of overarching issues, as Central Health Alliance does.
Assess Conformance to Requirements â€“ After your business issue is well understood, it is time to do a data quality assessment. The assessment is a focused effort to determine where in the data lifecycle things go wrong. Central Health Alliance knows its business issues and they are poised to kick off the data assessment.
Discover the Root Causes â€“ After you’ve assessed your data quality issues, it is time to discover why these problems are occurring. What are the root causes? Is there a lack of consistent training for the people who key in data? Is there some buggy code that is moving data around behind the scenes? Maybe there is some confusion about what the data actually means?
Formalize Improvements â€“ Once you know the ”what” and the ”why,” it is time for action. Improving data quality is often a two-pronged effortâ€”you’ve got to fix what’s wrong and you’ve got to put a monitoring system in place so that you will know when something goes awry in the future. By fixing the data problem at its source, you can not only prevent it from recurring, you can improve the quality of the data in upstream systems as well.
What are you waiting for? Go download the entire e-book today!
Posted August 26, 2010 6:00 AM
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