Many major companies are making important decisions routinely on remarkably inaccurate data, according to a Gartner Inc. strategic planning report, which estimates that more than 25% of critical data within Fortune 1,000 businesses will continue to be inaccurate or incomplete until 2007.
"Most enterprises don't fathom the magnitude of the impact that data quality problems can have," explained Ted Friedman, principal analyst for Gartner, who says that such problems with data can waste labour, causing lost productivity and directly affecting profitability.
Moreover, according to Friedman, the majority of large enterprises continue to reach for technology solutions even after they identify data quality problems. Such solutions often include priority spending programmes for advanced business intelligence and customer relationship management (CRM) capabilities, which fail largely because the poor quality of underlying data is not recognised or addressed.
Problems not solved
"Many enterprises simply look to technology they can buy to resolve data quality problems without first focusing on people and business processes," Friedman said. "Throwing technology at data quality issues usually doesn't solve the problem and won't yield positive long-term results."
According to Gartner, enterprises should examine organisational approaches and methodologies to improve data quality, and engage the active participation of those people who use the technology to achieve their business objectives, instead of just concentrating on engaging information technology staff.
IT not the sole answer
"If the IT group is the only part of the organisation that actively works and focuses on the issue, the business's ability to achieve data quality goals will be severely limited," explained Friedman. "The greatest success in managing data quality comes from engaging both business users and the IT organisation."
These findings are among the information contained in Gartner's new strategic planning report, 'Using Business Intelligence to Gain a Competitive Edge: Unleashing the Power of Data Analysis to Boost Corporate Performance'.
The report provides guidance on the implementation plans and best practices that enterprises need in order to develop successful business intelligence and data-warehousing strategies. The 266-page report features 17 chapters, three appendices (business intelligence case studies, software vendor evaluations, and a glossary of terms), and 109 figures including vendor evaluations.
Topics addressed in the report include: critical business intelligence trends and technologies, and the keys to successful business intelligence strategies; best practices for managing data quality and defining effective business metrics; building an optimal data warehouse infrastructure to support strategic business intelligence efforts; measuring and achieving a return on investment from business intelligence and data warehouse implementations; and best practices for corporate governance and compliance management. The report can be purchased directly from Gartner.