By Elliot King
So the easy answer to who should lead data quality initiatives is that the
CIO should be in charge. In most cases, the CIO is in charge of all enterprise
IT issues. So to suggest that data quality programs should be supervised by the
CIO is not saying much, other than data quality is an important enterprise IT
issue (which it is but, sadly enough, has to be said.)
For practical purposes, data quality initiatives should be the domain of an
enterprise data quality team; consisting of business leaders, staff and IT
personnel. Data quality issues do not exist in a vacuum. They can have a
concrete impact on real operations and only the people involved in those
operations can truly understand their severity. The fact is that IT staffs are
not at the point where data is actually used and often are not present when data
is created either.
On the other hand, the IT organization should have the expertise to locate the
problem data within the overall information infrastructure and the tools to
correct what is wrong. Generally managed by IT, the enterprise data management
team should represent all the stakeholders in data quality including the
marketing and sales organizations, finance, operations and product development.
While cross-functional teams like this are difficult to manage and sustain, done
right, the payoff can be significant. Projects can be launched with wider
corporate support and institutional knowledge about data quality can be
developed. In short, poor data quality can be seen as everybody’s problem and,
as they say, admitting to having problem is the first step in fixing it.