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For: Enterprise

Architecture
Professionals

Build Trusted Data With Data Quality


by Michele Goetz, August 26, 2013

Key Takeaways
Managing Data Quality Brings IT And The Business Closer Together
Business intelligence and business process projects expose data quality and master data
challenges. They often provide the venue for the lines of business and IT to put data in
context of business objectives and outcomes. These conversations direct resources to address
data quality issues and provide a business case for data technology budgets.
Data Quality Is Defined Differently By The Business And IT
Business stakeholders define data quality by access, relevancy, and timeliness. IT defines data
quality by the physical nature of data to pass or fail data processing rules. Each definition is
correct, but to ensure data is performing to business expectations, you need a tangible link
when measuring and reporting on data quality conditions.
Transparency In Data Quality Expands Data Use And Changes Behavior
Lack of trust in data affects an organizations adoption of a data-driven culture. Consistency is
often the catalyst for trust in data sources and intelligence. To increase data use and adoption
of validated sources, collaborate to establish common definitions and transformations,
syndicate definitions and policies, then measure data to thresholds.

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For Enterprise Architecture Professionals

August 26, 2013

Build Trusted Data With Data Quality


Performance Management: The Data Management Playbook
by Michele Goetz
with Leslie Owens and Emily Jedinak

Why Read This Report


Organizations increasingly lean on data to improve business outcomes such as customer experience
and loyalty. Additionally, IT is creating enterprise data services that share intelligence to help customers
optimize logistics, manufacturing, or their own customer relationships. Time and again line-of-business
professionals in areas such as marketing, sales, finance, and operations indicate that data quality is highly
important to be able to trust, use, and share information. Delivering on these expectations requires more
than implementing technology to improve data quality. Enterprise architects also have to continuously
monitor and measure data conditions. But the lens through which IT characterizes data quality is
different than the business point of view. So enterprise architects not only need to continuously monitor
and measure data conditions, they need to adjust their view on what is and isnt acceptable data quality
using a business-oriented framework. This report illustrates how organizations are keeping tabs on data
conditions to build confidence and trust in the data.

Table Of Contents

Notes & Resources

2 Trusted Data Is Valued Data

This research is based on ongoing client


inquiries, briefings, and interviews with data
management professionals.

3 Use Data Quality Intelligence To Build Trust


Data Governance Provides The Intelligence
Framework

Related Research Documents

Translating Guiding Principles To Physical State Is


A Critical Step

The Transformation Of Data Governance


July 18, 2013

7 Four-Step Process For Data Intelligence


WHAT IT MEANS

9 Data Quality Certification Increases ROI And


Business Opportunity
9 Supplemental Material

Data Governance Equal Business


Opportunity. No, Really.
May 20, 2013
Market Overview: Master Data Management,
Q2 2013
April 23, 2013

2013, Forrester Research, Inc. All rights reserved. Unauthorized reproduction is strictly prohibited. Information is based on best available
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For Enterprise Architecture Professionals

Build Trusted Data With Data Quality

trusted data is valued data


Even if you think you have data covered, the business thinks you dont. Consider this: Marketing
and sales at a pet care firm complained that a lack of quality customer data was hurting their ability
to drive customer experience. To overcome these challenges, they initiated a project to implement
new technology. When Forrester spoke with the firms IT department to listen to its perspective
on these data quality issues, it didnt think there was anything wrong with the data and was baffled
that marketing and sales had complaints. On the other hand, enterprise architects often lament
the difficulty in getting the business interested in owning the data. Data quality programs can be a
catalyst. When IT leaders recognize the criticality of data quality, its easier to get business buy-in
and budget for data investments. In Forresters Forrsights Strategy Spotlight: Business Intelligence
And Big Data, Q4 2012 survey:

68% of business intelligence (BI) professionals who indicated data quality as critically important
stated they did not face challenges in aligning with the business, compared with 55% of those
who rated data quality as less important.1

69% of business intelligence professionals who indicated data quality was of high importance
did not face challenges in obtaining budget, compared with 63% of those who placed less
importance on data quality.

Going further, there is a correlation between BI decision-makers who prioritize data quality and
those who say their firm has alignment between data and business process (see Figure 1).
Organizations that consider data quality highly important (total quality) and important (quality
matters) are much more likely to connect the management of data with business than those that are
neutral or de-emphasize data quality (good enough).2 This matters because the ability to link data to
business process means that organizations can determine how quality affects business outcomes.
What we see in Figure 1 is that if you place more emphasis on data quality, as seen with segments
total quality and quality matters, the better you are at linking data to business processes and the better
you can understand when and how data influences business performance and outcomes. Total quality
organizations are 48% more likely to have better alignment between data and business process.

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Figure 1 Data Quality Brings The Business And IT Closer


Respondents who agreed with the statement
There is strong alignment between data and business processes and
the people responsible for both.
Good enough
Respondents are
classified according
to how important data
quality is to their
information strategy.

17%

Quality matters

25%
48%

Total quality

37%

Base: 603 business intelligence users


Source: Forrsights Strategy Spotlight: Business Intelligence And Big Data, Q4 2012
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use data quality intelligence to Build Trust


Even after IT professionals use data quality as a bridge to aligned requirements, there is still the
challenge of linking data quality to business impact. The best data management and data governance
practices emphasize monitoring and measurement programs, but only about 10% of organizations
do so.3 Organizations must integrate performance management of data to business key performance
indicators (KPIs).4 This performance-management-based approach to data is what Forrester calls
data quality intelligence, and it entails analyzing data quality conditions within the framework of
business process management to understand and quantify how poor data quality affects business
process and decisions.
Data Governance Provides The Intelligence Framework
The evolution of an organizations data quality intelligence often coincides with the evolution of data
governance (see Figure 2). This can be defined in three stages:

Physical. Linked to IT-led data governance efforts, the physical aspect of data is often measured
with data profiling tools for integration and data quality. IT pros use the out-of-the-box
functionality of these tools to assess patterns, completeness, redundancy, and cardinality.5 The
main purpose of this type of measurement is to prepare for integration and migration. It often
exposes data quality issues that can affect the business, which can lead to better creation and
management of data quality policies.

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Policy. Concerns voiced by business stakeholders in areas such as marketing, sales, and finance
about data quality issues in customer and product data initiate a shift to measure conditions
based on relevancy, timeliness, and availability. Data governance becomes business-led when
the business can see how data quality conditions and activities to improve data quality relate
to data policies it created. Business-driven data quality metrics based on policies provide the
foundation for understanding business impact.

Impact. Business-led data governance informs data quality strategy and policies based on

business strategy and outcomes. Data quality intelligence at this stage shows clear causation of
data quality conditions on the business.

Many Forrester clients place themselves in between the physical and policy states. A company might
measure its data quality conditions by profiling and quantifying discrete data quality rules that are
informed by data policies. However, the metrics tracked are not categorized into data policies to see
clear linkage to guiding principles for trusted data.
For example, a leading global software vendor established a data quality team focused on addressing
quality issues with customer data. It created a data governance council of key stakeholders across
sales, marketing, and IT. A chief data officer role was established to lead data strategy and data
governance efforts. And the vendor put in place a plan to improve the quality of data. On a regular
basis, it utilizes data quality metrics to support tactical remediation of customer data (combine
customer records, approve changes, etc.). When communicating data quality conditions and
efforts to the lines of business that rely on clean customer data, it speaks in terms of the number
of records cleansed and discrete data quality dimensions such as completeness and duplications. It
hasnt progressed measurement to show the impact of data quality on overall business policies for a
customer record or to show business impact although it is on the vendors road map to do so.

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Figure 2 Data Quality Intelligence Progresses From Physical To Business Impact

IT
Physical

Data governance

Data attributes measured


in sources

Data conditions categorized


by data policies

Policy

Impact

Data conditions linked to


business impact

Business
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Translating Guiding Principles To Physical State Is A Critical Step


Moving from data quality intelligence based on a physical state to one based on policy requires a
common language between IT and the business. A recent client engagement with a global nonprofit
illustrates this language gap: Business stakeholders in operations, trust funds, finance, and human
resources defined data quality in terms of guiding principles; the technology team defined data
quality in terms of discrete data conditions. Likewise, for a life sciences client, a lack of common
language created a difference of opinion on the quality of data. The marketing and sales organization
complained about the quality of customer data. Meanwhile IT was highly confident in the quality
of data and didnt perceive a problem in fact IT was shocked to hear there was one. Data quality
intelligence creates a crosswalk that ties discrete conditions to principles of trust (see Figure 3). Here
is how the businesses data quality principles translate to discrete data conditions:

Relevant. Business stakeholders use the term relevant to communicate the usability and value of

data within the context of consumption. For example, finance may be interested in a customer
view that includes credit information and is defined by the customers physical location. Marketing
may want to see customers based on where they shop and defined by if they have made purchases
in the past. IT is responsible for looking at discrete data elements to determine that the customer is
accurately defined, is unique, and meets conditions that align to various use cases.

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Timely. This can be a confusing term, as it means different things to IT and the business. The

business wants to know that it has the most up-to-date information, delivered when needed.
This definition is at once aligned to ITs metric around create, read, update, and delete (CRUD)
processes and data life-cycle management to treat the level of volatility in the data. However, the
second aspect of on-time delivery cant be satisfied by looking at data conditions; rather, it must
be assessed at the overall delivery of service itself.

Available. Data is only as valuable as it is accessible. You can track completeness by measuring
for empty cells and records. However, in the minds of the business, completeness pertains
to data sources as well. Third-party data is of increasing interest to enrich and augment
internal sources.6 For IT, availability must translate into consistency. A multitude of sources
and definitions can mask needed data. Proper integration and classification confirms data is
available and not lost in delivery.

Figure 3 Same But Different: Data Quality Definitions Differ Between IT And The Business

Data trust
(Guiding principle)
Relevant
(usability)

Timely
(volatility)

Available
(accessibility)

Business

Accurate

Duplicates

Conformity

IT

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Timely
update

Complete

Consistent

IT: data hygiene


(Physical state)

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August 26, 2013

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Build Trusted Data With Data Quality

Four-Step Process for Data Intelligence


UMB Bank recognized the need to improve the quality of its customer data as the business grew
and diversified. The growth in the amount of data, the increased rate of change in customer data,
and the rising voice of business stakeholders requesting high data quality were catalysts for change.
Before it even assessed the scope of the situation, UMB Bank knew it needed to understand how to
frame the challenge and focus on what mattered in order to be successful. It went through a design
phase that investigated what other organizations were doing to better identify and define what
mattered to the business. This phase then allowed the bank to assess data quality conditions to a
determined set of data quality policies for customer data and implement a plan of action to cleanse
and govern customer data. UMB Bank continues to monitor progress and build upon the data
quality foundation for further data investment. This business-oriented approach worked because
it drove shared responsibility to improve data quality across IT and the business and put in place a
monitoring process that made managing data quality sustainable.
Organization can take a similar approach through a four-step process (see Figure 4):
1. Define. The initial step is to clarify what data quality should achieve and the type of data the
organization should focus on. Ground this step in either a business initiative or challenge such
as customer experience, operational efficiency, or revenue leakage. This helps you appropriately
identify key data elements and domains that will need to meet business policies and rules. Once
youve achieved data quality focus, you must classify data as physical requirements for data
management and within the context of data consumption. Classification helps establish data
policies for quality and better document business policies that determine the data quality state.
At this point, IT is able to translate data policies into rules that process and transform data to
meet data quality requirements.
2. Measure. Forrester commonly hears from clients and data quality vendors that IT-led data
quality initiatives often start with measurement as an outcome of data integration and migration
projects. However, its better to frame measurement within the context of business policies
and rules. Focused measurement helps develop the proper processes, transformations, and
technologies that should occur to improve business outcomes from quality data. One leading
software vendor of data profiling tools said, Organizations that start to measure first have
difficulty communicating why that business should care about data quality conditions and invest
in data cleansing efforts. No one wants to clean the house. There is nothing sexy about that.
3. Act. Organizations will address data quality through automated and manual data quality
processes. Its important to recognize that at this stage in the process, data quality transitions
to an outward expression and commitment of data governance. Data quality is a subset of data
governance activities where actions are guided by the metrics and baseline identified during the
measure phase by data stewards. As data is validated and remediated during implementation,
ongoing measurement should occur across data conditions, data policies, and CRUD processes.

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Even if no formal data governance effort has been established, acting to improve data quality is
often that first step.
4. Learn. Metrics captured during the act phase are meant to be monitored and inform
continuous improvement of data conditions. Visualization of these metrics should inform
tactical remediation activity, data governance review, and eventually evolve to show business
impact. Learn is not the last step. Data conditions change, and business policies change that
have a direct impact on data quality standards. What organizations learn by monitoring data
quality process goes back into data quality design.
Figure 4 Apply A Learning Methodology To Improve Data Quality
Define
Focus
Classifications
Policies
Rules

Measure
Data conditions
Policy
compliance
CRUD process
(create, read,
update, delete)

Act
Automate
validation
Automate
remediation
Automate
measurement

Learn
Remediation
dashboard
Policy dashboard
Business domain
dashboard

Educate
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w h at i t m e a n s

data quality certification increases ROI and business opportunity


Establishing a data quality intelligence competency does more than just align to business
expectations for data. Organizations can use data quality intelligence to certify the quality of
data sources and governance practices and promote trusted sources and systems. Data quality
intelligence provides transparency and validation to change behavior, making trusted systems
and sources of data business accelerators, as business stakeholders can rely on the data to identify
opportunity and improve operational efficiency. Additionally, organizations thinking of sharing
their data externally with partners gain trust and increase the value of these new data services
by providing validation of their commitment to quality. Both scenarios mean organizations are
positioned to put data to use for core business outcomes and devise new business models that
capitalize on the promise of the data economy.

Supplemental Material
Methodology
Forresters Forrsights Strategy Spotlight: Business Intelligence And Big Data, Q4 2012 was fielded
to 634 IT executives and technology decision-makers located in Canada, France, Germany, the
UK, and the US from small and medium-size business (SMB) and enterprise companies with 100
or more employees. All respondents reported working for companies that were currently using or
planning to use business intelligence technologies. This survey is part of Forresters Forrsights for
Business Technology and was fielded during October 2012 and November 2012. Survey respondent
incentives included gift certificates and research reports.
Each calendar year, Forresters Forrsights for Business Technology fields business-to-business
technology studies in more than 17 countries spanning North America, Latin America, Europe,
and developed and emerging Asia. For quality control, we carefully screen respondents according
to job title and function. Forresters Forrsights for Business Technology ensures that the final
survey population contains only those with significant involvement in the planning, funding, and
purchasing of IT products and services. Additionally, we set quotas for company size (number
of employees) and industry as a means of controlling the data distribution. Forrsights uses only
superior data sources and advanced data-cleaning techniques to ensure the highest data quality.
We have illustrated only a portion of survey results in this document. To inquire about receiving full
data results for an additional fee, please contact Forrsights@forrester.com or your Forrester account
manager.

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Build Trusted Data With Data Quality

Endnotes
Source: Forrsights Strategy Spotlight: Business Intelligence And Big Data, Q4 2012.

Source: Forrsights Strategy Spotlight: Business Intelligence And Big Data, Q4 2012.

For more on data governance programs, see the May 20, 2013, Data Governance Equals Business
Opportunity. No, Really report.

For more information on developing capability models for an information strategy, see the April 24, 2013,
Drive Information Strategy Performance Management With Capability Models report.

For more on the leading vendors in enterprise data quality platforms, see the October 29, 2010, The
Forrester Wave: Enterprise Data Quality Platforms, Q4 2010 report.

Source: Forrsights Strategy Spotlight: Business Intelligence And Big Data, Q4 2012.

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