Data quality on trial with Pistorius

whodunnitA side effect of the well publicised Oscar Pistorius murder trial has been an inside view of how a criminal trial really works.

Law and Order fans may be disappointed for, rather than sudden and brilliant insight, the case is built through a methodical analysis of the data (evidence) available.

The quality of the data will directly influence the outcome.

Guilty or innocent?

The prosecution has examined the evidence and determined that the defendant is guilty.

With the same data available the defence believes that the defendant must be proven innocent.

Data governance determines data quality. Tweet this

The defence has on a number of occasions suggested that evidence has been compromised and therefore does not support the States’ version of events.

In some instances they may have scored points. In others, the state has been able to show that the evidence is sound by referring to the labelled time and location where the evidence was found. The state must rely on sound data governance principles to prove the quality if the evidence.

For examples of how data management impacts on the legal process see my SA Leader article Oscar Pistorius trial shows the importance of data management

Is poor data quality undermining your business decisions?

Just like a criminal trial, business decisions must balance probabilities and be supported by the evidence.

Businesses invest billions in data warehousing, BI and analytics and, more recently, Big Data projects.

Data quality is put on trial every day.Tweet this

In many cases, decision makers ignore the evidence presented by these projects preferring to trust their gut. “We don’t trust the data” is the most common reason given for ignoring the BI analysis.

Data governance provides the context for trusted data Tweet This

Not every trial receives similar attention.

Big data is driving increased spend on BI and analytics – spend that will be wasted if the results aren’t trusted.

It’s time that data quality receives the attention it deserves.


Image sourced from under the Creative Commons licence


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