In physics, there is a term called the observer effect, which refers to the changes that the act of observation will have on a phenomenon. When applied to enterprise data, monitoring data quality typically results in some marginal improvement. To effectively monitor data, however, a business process of monitoring that involves getting the right information to the right people at the right time is crucial in order for the monitoring to have a meaningful impact throughout the organization. At its peak, by using highly effective business processes around monitoring data, organizations can approach six sigma levels of data quality. Following are a few key aspects that the business process of monitoring must contain.
Reaching Six Sigma Data Quality
The first step is creating data standards to use in monitoring data. These standards should be focused on all aspects of data, including quality, relevancy, completeness, informational, and retention. Once identified, these standards need to be instantiated into a tool that can be used to check the data against these standards. This step is often overlooked, but key to implementation success, as standards must tie back to business needs and KPIs to deliver value. Data is the DNA of the systems that run an enterprise, and how that data is monitored should align with what matters to an organization.
Once the data standards are identified and instantiated, the individuals who are responsible for the data need to be chosen and brought into the business process of monitoring. The closer to the business these individuals live, the more effective they will be in driving data standards violations to resolution. When business users see the impact of data, or better yet, the positive impact of good data, their buy-in and understanding of that data will increase within your organization.
Tying the business process together means getting the right data to the right people at the right time and in the right format. Each of those four elements is crucial to the successful implementation of a data monitoring business process as users want to work with the data that they know, when they need to work on it, in a way that is meaningful to them. Receiving notification that “Customer name will not fit on shipping label, therefore they will not be able to receive product” matters far more to business users than “Customer name does not match the proper format”.
The business process of monitoring data is often new to business users when it is introduced to an organization. However, implementing a proven and effective process from the beginning will smooth the implementation and will set the stage for successful future information governance business processes.
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