The Case for a Data Quality Dashboard

Various sources cite poor data quality as a significant contributor to IT project failures – and it is also recognised to create inefficiencies and associated hidden costs across all business functions. Yet, for most organisations, it is difficult to articulate how improvements to Data Quality have saved money and improved business process efficiency. For these reasons, Data Quality projects may struggle to compete for budget with the countless other projects that business and IT must deliver.

A data quality dashboard can be defined as as a visually representative report to define, measure and trend the consistency and quality of data over time, against  business defined key performance indicators.

data quality kpi

So, who needs a data quality dashboard?

While banks and listed companies are required by legislation (e.g. Basel II, SOX) to measure data quality other organisations can also benefit from a clear understanding of how data is impacting key metrics.

For example, in a Gartner report entitled “Nine Fatal Flaws in BI Implementations” data quality issues were specifically mentioned – people will not use BI applications that are founded on irrelevant, incomplete or questionable data. Gartner recommends that automated controls be established that identify and block low quality data from entering the BI platform.

Yet, data quality affects much more than the ability to trust and use reports.

The primary impact of poor data quality is on operational efficiency – typically through causing critical processes to fail (with whatever cost and impact that carries) or through requiring rework to resolve issues.

Finally, any organisation undertaking a large IT implementation should have an understanding of the current data state, and manage the project risk by taking appropriate steps to clean existing data before migrating to the new application.

A data quality dashboard, combined with a business user oriented data profiling tool to easily and accurately measure data quality, provides a low risk solution to achieve this goal as it allows rapid deployment and supports an integrated business and IT approach to creating the critical metrics.

The dashboard ensures the necessary visibility throughout the organisation to ensure that data quality issues do not doom your project objectives and enables data governance functions by providing a trusted source of data quality information and exceptions.

Don’t reinvent the wheel

One of the traps is to assume that data quality dashboards should be delivered as a business intelligence project.

This assumes that stakeholders already know what issues they want to measure. In practice, data quality issues are often hidden and must be discovered. In some cases these discovered issues will become formal metrics, and in other cases they may drive ad hoc, tactical resolutions.

A business oriented data profiling tool, such as Trillium DQ Discovery allows business and technical data stewards and analysts to rapidly uncover hidden data quality insights in data, define formal metrics, and deploy to the preferred dash boarding tools to meet the needs of both business and technical stakeholders.

Measure the ROI of your data quality

In many cases, data management issues such as these take up significant amounts of time for both IT and business staff, but are neither recognised nor measured. The true cost of managing poor quality data can run into millions of rands monthly and can be better addressed through the use of a dashboard.

Often, data quality work is hidden amongst other daily tasks. For example, how many of the standard daily, weekly or monthly reports require significant manual data cleansing effort to complete?

A data quality dashboard should ultimately include both “pure” data quality scores, and other custom metrics that can allow your business to measure the impact.

Rolling up various scores into a weighted average can, for example, allow the Financial Director to understand the level of confidence of the financial results, or allow the Operations Manager to measure the success of a data cleansing project to meet a business goal

Give us a call to talk about your data quality needs on +27 11 485 4856