A common challenge underlying the reason that many organizations don’t manage their data as a corporate asset is the debate about who is responsible for data quality, or as Carly Simon might have phrased it, You’re So Vain, You Probably Think Data Quality Is About You.
The common refrain is:
“Data Quality is an IT issue because the organization’s data is stored in the databases and applications that they manage. Therefore, if there are problems with the data, then IT is responsible for cleaning up their own mess.”
Is your car mechanic also your brain surgeon?
Often it’s this mindset that gets IT assigned data ownership, as if managing the database architecture was the same as understanding the business context of the data loaded into the database.
By that logic, since you drive inside of a car, your mechanic can also perform brain surgery on you.
Lest you think this blog post is merely a defense of IT, recall that The Third Law of Data Quality is:
“Data quality is everyone’s responsibility.”
Collaboration isn’t brain surgery
Data quality is neither a business issue nor a technical issue – because it’s both.
Data quality initiatives require the collaborative effort of the business and IT working together.
Assuming data quality is someone else’s responsibility is a fundamental root case for your organization’s data quality problems — and why it isn’t managing its data as a corporate asset.
Data quality is not about you. Data quality is about us.
I believe in us.