By Noreen Kendle
No one ever says they want bad data, everyone wants good data. The poor state of the data and lack of formal data management in most organizations is well known. Improving the state of data has been on most C-level radar for at least ten years. So what‘s the problem? Am I missing something here? If most organizations are aware of their data problems and they know they need good data, then why hasn’t data management been given the spotlight and funding it needs. Many of my data management colleagues say that they continually struggle to sell a data management function. Try as they will, they cannot convince management to spend the money and resources; same folks who want good data.
I believe there is a fact that is often overlooked. If you have data, then you manage it, weather it’s recognized or not – data will get managed, proactively or reactively. Most organizations manage their data reactively. The cost of reactive data management typically goes unrecognized and unaccounted for. I was talking to a fried the other day about data quality problems. She had been the head of a large vendor support/management department (126 employees) for a fortune 100 company. She calculated that on average 60% of their time was spent chasing and correcting bad vendor and product data. It was just considered to be part of the job, and one of the main reasons for such a large department. I have been told and witnessed similar situations across many organizations. Reactive type data management is never accounted for in a data management budget.
Request for funds for a formal “proactive” data management function is viewed as a new expenditure that requires extensive justification and is rarely approved because the organization is functioning "fine" without it. The irony is that the expenditure for a formal data management function is a drop in the bucket to what is being wasted in reactive data management.
The case for formal data management needs to be presented as a cost-cutting initiative with an accounting and comparison to the cost for reactive data management. Proactively managing data is the key to having good data and will cost much less than most organizations are spending today. If the true cost of reactive data management were recognized,I believe formal data management would quickly take center stage in most organizations.