No place for dirty data

news release

No place for dirty data

Data quality management platforms drive successful business outcomes

London, 13 September 2013  - A new Ovum paper sponsored by Experian QAS highlights how the demand for faster and more varied information is forcing companies to sharpen their focus on data quality and governance to enable efficient business operations, understand customer behaviour, and make more informed decisions. The report highlights the need for companies to recognise data quality not as an IT issue, but a problem solved in collaboration with business.

“There’s an evergreen IT joke that the fastest way to kill a data quality initiative is to tell senior management that you’re spending budget on cleaning the data!”, said Tim Jennings, Research Fellow and Chief Analyst at Ovum. “The hard lesson behind this joke is that data cleansing for ‘cleansing’s sake’ is rarely embraced by business stakeholders, and is often the root cause of failed data governance initiatives.”

Ovum’s report highlights that more organisations are becoming enlightened to the hidden costs of poor data quality management on their business bottom and top lines. This often neglected but highly critical capability, is increasingly being elevated from an IT level to a boardroom discussion. The paper finds the data quality management market maturing rapidly as more organisations think more holistically about their data management strategies, particularly in terms of what data they deem critical to supporting efficient and accurate business processes and ensuring that dirty data does not pollute them. In particular, more companies are becoming acutely aware of the close correlation between high data quality and business performance.

The report highlights powerful business drivers for data quality, as organisations across a multitude of industry sectors come under increasing pressure to differentiate their products and services in highly competitive markets. Some common factors driving this awareness include:

  • A pervasive goal of providing a 360-degree view of customer relationships. Customer-facing interactions are highly data-driven, and to work smoothly they need to be fed by clean and trusted sources of data.
  • An increased focus on business analytics, for both strategic and operational decision making. As businesses seek to act intelligently on a broader and richer set of data sources than ever before, timely and accurate insights into data is essential.
  • Increasingly complex requirements for regulatory compliance. Many compliance mandates require cross-organisation aggregation of data, increasing the risk of data quality ‘fault lines’ being exposed and cracking the enterprise.

“Perceptions on data quality are also shifting away from the “mechanical” view of data quality; specifically, that dirty data can’t simply be thrown into a washing machine and instantly come out clean,” commented Joel Curry, Managing Director, Experian QAS. “It is promising that data quality is being acknowledged as a business discipline, enabled by a coordinated blend of people, processes and technologies guided and managed as part of an enterprise-wide data governance strategy.”

Key messages

  • Strong data quality and governance is a business imperative in today’s fiercely competitive, data-driven business environment
  • While point tools effectively address tactical data quality problems, an integrated data quality management platform extends the value of this tooling, and can support the implementation of a sustainable, enterprise-wide data quality and governance strategy
  • Data quality is not an IT function, but a business-driven initiative that requires the commitment of senior management and the involvement of business analysts and users that understand the value and impact of data on organisational performance
  • Having an integrated data quality management platform in place can accelerate the delivery, and reduce the cost, of existing and planned data-driven IT projects
  • Assessing the current state of data quality maturity within the organisation is an important part of making the business case for investing in data quality and data governance.

Capturing poor data quality before, not after, it enters the system is key and requires a proactive, rather than reactive, approach.“It’s far cheaper to be proactive in cleaning up incomplete and inaccurate data at source (before it enters IT systems and processes), rather than to wait for a data quality meltdown that, in the long run, impacts business performance,” concluded Jennings.

Key recommendations for enterprises

  • Treat business data as you would your other most valuable corporate assets
  • Data quality technology investments should be framed to an enterprise-wide data governance framework that drives a commitment across both IT and business
  • Securing senior business level buy-in is critical for sustainable data quality initiatives
  • Data quality is a process best supported by an integrated IT platform that proactively engages business users proactively in data quality processes, and incorporates a methodology based on a clear charter of roles and responsibilities

For a full copy of the report Quality busines starts with quality data please email

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Victoria Melville/Duncan Gurney
Melville Communications
Tel : +44 (0)1483 489009

About Experian Marketing Services
Experian Marketing Services is a global provider of integrated consumer insight, data quality and cross-channel marketing. We help organisations from around the world intelligently interact with today’s dynamic, empowered and hyper connected customers. By coordinating seamless interactions across all marketing channels, marketers are able to plan and execute superior brand experiences that deepen customer loyalty, strengthen brand advocacy and maximise profits.

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About Experian
Experian is the leading global information services company, providing data and analytical tools to clients around the world. The Group helps businesses to manage credit risk, prevent fraud, target marketing offers and automate decision making. Experian also helps individuals to check their credit report and credit score, and protect against identity theft.

Experian plc is listed on the London Stock Exchange (EXPN) and is a constituent of the FTSE 100 index. Total revenue for the year ended 31 March 2013 was US$4.7 billion. Experian employs approximately 17,000 people in 40 countries and has its corporate headquarters in Dublin, Ireland, with operational headquarters in Nottingham, UK; California, US; and São Paulo, Brazil.

For more information, visit