Doing the job is only half the job!


In today’s high pressure business world, there are increasing demands to deliver good service. This can mean finishing jobs as soon as possible – which may mean feedback on what was done, how long it took etc. is not completed to save time.

However, it today’s increasingly data reliant world this lack of data (or provision of poor data) can have long term consequences.

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Data problems are not an ‘Act of God’…


Conversations with another data quality professional recently highlighted organisations that treat data problems as if they are an ‘Act of God’. In these cases the organisations were trying to deny their existence and were certainly denying that they could do anything about them.

Whilst there are many definitions for an ‘Act of God’ they typically are used to refer to events that are outside human control. Is that really the case with data?

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Mind the (data) gap!


Travellers on London Underground will be familiar with the term “Mind the Gap” which is both a visible, and an audio, warning to make sure that you do not become an unfortunate statistic on the railway – you may lose items between the train and platform (hang on to your Kindle when boarding!) or, worse still, trip/slip in the gap.

It is also important that you “Mind the (data) gap” when ‘things’ are transferred between organisations, departments and systems. I have used the term ‘thing’ to cover designs, products, services, responsibilities etc. Read the rest of this entry »

Good data is NOT a PDF document!


Well structured data that is properly stored, managed and governed is increasingly being recognised as a way to improve business efficiency and effectiveness. However, too many people still think that information stored in electronic format is good data…

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Outsourcing your data quality problems??


A recent UK news story illustrates the dangers in outsourcing your data quality problems. UK Borders Agency awarded a £30m contract to Capita to track down 174,000 supposed illegal immigrants.

This quickly highlighted significant data quality problems with the wrong people being targeted – people who had left the UK years ago, people who held valid British passports etc. What added to the anguish suffered by people was the impersonal way that SMS text messages were used to inform them “Message from the UK Border Agency: You are required to leave the UK as you no longer have the right to remain.”

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We’re all human


imageIn our increasingly regulated and controlled working lives, it is easy to feel that we are just part of a big machine, doing repetitive and dull jobs. This is particularly the case if you work in call centres or other environments where there is a set script to follow. Motivation, and therefore performance, tend to be low which affects profitability.

Does it have to be this way? Does this get the best out of our staff?

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Decisions without information



When I saw a review of the book “Die Kunst des klugen Handelns” (The Art of Acting Cleverly) which started with the words:

“Try to get through life with a minimum of information. You will make better decisions. What you do not need to know remains worthless even if you are aware of it.”

That got me thinking! When running training sessions I sometimes pose the question “Is it better to make a decision without data or one with data of unknown quality?” to try and get people thinking about decision making and the role that data plays in it.

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