This is post number 666 on this blog. 666 is the number of the beast. Something diabolic.
The first post on my blog came out in June 2009 and was called Qualities in Data Architecture. This post was about how we should talk a bit less about bad data quality and instead focus a bit more on success stories around data quality. I haven’t been able to stick to that all the time. There are so many good data quality train wrecks out there, as the one told in the post called Sticky Data Quality Flaws.
Some of my favorite subjects around data quality were lined up in Post No. 100. They are:
The biggest thing that has happened in the data quality realm during the five years this blog has been live is probably the rise of big data. Or rather the rise of the term big data. This proves to me that changes usually starts with technology. Then we after sometime starts thinking about processes and finally peoples roles and responsibilities.
A frequent update on my LinkedIn home page these days is about the HiPPO principle. The HiPPO principle is used to describe a leadership style based on priority for the leader’s opinion opposite to using data as explained in the Forbes article here.
The hippo (hippopotamus) is one of largest animals on this planet. So is the rhino (rhinoceros). The rhino is critically endangered because it is hunted by humans due to a very little part of its body, being the horn.
I guess anyone who has been in business for some years has met the hippo. Probably you also have experienced a rhino hunt being a project or programme of very big size but aiming at a quite narrow business objective that may have been expressed as a simple slogan by a hippo.
Yesterday Daragh O Brien posted an Open Letter to my Information Quality Peers. The essence is that Daragh isn’t completely satisfied with how things are in The International Association for Information and Data Quality (IAIDQ).
That reminds me of that I was a charter member of IAIDQ.
But now checking I probably haven’t renewed the membership. This is not deliberate. It just may have slipped. Maybe, as being one of Daragh’s critique points, because broadcasting from IAIDQ has decreased the last years.
> Correction: Double checking I am actually still a member. I renewed for 2 years last time (usually I’m not that careless with money). I just lost my Charter Mbr designation in the process.
Another critique point raised by Daragh is the failed mission to make the organization truly international, as the organization have had difficulties maintaining chapters around the world.
Forming and maintaining regional chapters is about getting and upholding a critical mass of active members. An example of that this is possible is the German Information Quality Society – Deutsche Gesellschaft für Informations- und Datenqualität e. V. However, this organization doesn’t seem to be a IAIDQ chapter, but being another church obeying the same god.
The current unrest in IAIDQ is not the first of its kind. I remember that some years ago one of the founding members, Larry English, sent a strange email to members telling that he quitted the organization not being satisfied with something.
It is ironic that information quality practitioners are preaching communication and collaboration, but we don’t seem to get it when it comes to organizing our own little world.
More and more of my work within data quality and Master Data Management (MDM) is around data governance. One side of data governance is the organizational issues and the roles of people involved.
Some of the common roles are:
Data Steward: This is a good role in my eyes and how you select and empower data stewards is in my experience often the difference between failure and success. Data stewards are in most cases already known in the organization as data champions and subject matter experts. A successful data governance program lays out the organizational structure for the of work data stewards and supply the means for the data stewards in the daily struggle for maintaining an optimal degree of data quality.
Data Owner: I don’t like the term data owner as told and discussed several years ago in the post Bad Word:? Data Owner. The existence of data owners is unfortunately why we need data governance. Data owners are heads of data silos. Especially when it comes to master data the problem is that data owners and data silos makes it difficult to look at data as an enterprise asset.
Chief Data Officer (CDO): This is a relatively new term but we have had the concept for many years earlier for example known as a data czar. We need such a person because data owners are bad for the idea of data being an enterprise asset. But how long will CDOs remain in office compared to data owners? Not long I’m afraid.
The professional cycling sport has been havocked by the doping ghost during the last years with the confessions from Lance Armstrong as the latest paramount following other confessions for example by fellow Tour de France winner Bjarne Riis.
The word denial is probably the most central term in all this mess. The riders have kept denying the facts past the threshold of absurdity.
We do see a lot of the same kind of denial within the realm of data management where data quality issues obvious to everyone are denied often with the sentiment that of course there are a lot of data quality issues around, but certainly not with my data. My data is clean.
But they ain’t.
When working with data quality issues some of the big questions are: How bad is it? Is it getting worse? Can we do something about it? Who should do something about it?
These questions are basically the same as those around the changing climate on this planet including rising sea levels.
This morning I read an article on BBC news telling that several scientific teams have joined forces in an attempt to quantify exactly how it is with rising sea levels. The short answer is that the sea level now is 11.1 millimeters (7⁄16 of an inch) higher than in 1992.
The sea is rising because of melting ice primary on Antarctica and Greenland as seen below:
So I think it’s high time to ask the people of Antarctica and not at least the people of Greenland to do something serious about that their ice is melting and flooding innocent people in the rest of the world.
Most organizations have a lot of data quality issues where there is a wealth of possible solutions to deal with these challenges.
What you usually do is that that you categorize the problems into three different types of best resolutions:
You could go ahead with solving the data quality problems today but probably you have better and more important things to do right now.
Your organization may have a global SAP rollout going on or other resource demanding implementations. Therefore it is most wise to deal with the data quality issues when everything is running smoothly.
Maybe a resolution has been tried before and didn’t work. Chances that alternate people management, different orchestration of processes and development in available technology will change that are very slim.
May the force be with you
Many problems solve themselves over time or hopefully don’t get noticed by anyone. If things get ugly you always have your lightsaber.