I wrote a letter to my love – who owns data quality?

“I wrote a letter to my love, and on the way I dropped it.”

The old children’s game neatly summarises the relationship between IT and Business when discussing data quality and data governance.

Imagine that in the early flushes of your first major love you are forced to move hundred of miles across country, separated from the object of your desire. As your emotions well up you choose to sit and write a passionate ode to your beloved – deeply personal and describing your feelings. A letter intended to woo and win!

Pushing the send button on your mail you expect the message to be delivered – without delivery the passion is in vain. You also expect the letter to get there uncensored (and unchanged).

IT has a critical role to play in any data governance or data quality process. They own the infrastructure, they are responsible for security, they must “deliver the letter.”

But you, the business person, own the letter.  Noone else can possible understand your passion, can describe the way you feel, can successfully woo your love for you. Business users who are intimately familiar with the business use and value of data must take ownership of ensuring that the standards set are correct and in lie with business needs.

IT can only make changes to data if they are in line with these business standards. And critical content should not be changed at all.

Data governance and data quality projects are critically dependent on business knowledge. Equally, a project on any meaningful scale requires technical and system support.  Both business and IT must be involved.

In the ideal world your letters will be compelling and they will be received.

This post was originally published in the dataqualitymatters blog

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