Are you involved with Data Quality?
At some point you’re going to have to explain the benefits of what it is you and your colleagues deliver, often in a casual, informal setting.
It’s often hard enough getting this across to your sponsors and internal customers let alone entirely new business heads and disparate operational workers that you run into on a daily basis.
The easiest way to promote data quality to anyone in your organisation I’ve found is via story-telling. We all too often get bogged down in technicalities and definitions but stories help us with a simple structure that everyone on the planet is accustomed to. For the listener they’re also far more likely to remember a story than any other medium.
So how do you create a data quality story that gets your message across?
Essentially there are 5 points to consider in your story that you have to convey smoothly and succinctly.
- What’s the problem caused by poor data quality?
- Why hasn’t the problem been solved until now?
- What’s the possibility or benefit if that problem could be solved?
- What’s different as a result of what your team delivers?
- What should they do next?
Example: Data Quality Story for Operational Performance Improvement in a Utilities Company
What's The Problem?
Right now in this company there are operational teams endlessly resolving the symptoms of poor data quality. They’re taking longer to perform basic maintenance because the data is incomplete. They’re being pulled from critical work to deal with customer complaints because bills are inaccurate. Management are continually frustrated because bad data is creating indecision with financing, resourcing and performance management.
Why No Solution?
Historically we’ve mopped up these issues in a tactical, reactive way by using some of our most critical staff to put out fires. No-one would argue that this has been delivered with no real strategy for eliminating the root causes.
Remember the film Groundhog Day? It’s like that. The same problems being played out month after month.
What’s the possibility?
The obvious question is: "What if we could eliminate the root causes of these events and implement long-term improvements so that our teams do far more value added work instead of endless firefighting?”
We would save money, raise morale and delight more customers more of the time, right?
What’s different now?
We’ve got an executive mandate to support all areas of the business that are feeling the pain of poor data quality and are no longer prepared to waste their time and resources firefighting the same issues time and time again. We come from all areas of the business so have deep operational knowledge but also adopt the latest data quality methods and technologies to actively implement long-term improvements with a clear ROI.
If you want to find out more we have an internal website and resource centre that explains the work we do, the results we deliver and how you can get involved.
Craft Your Own Data Quality Story
You can trim this story any way you see fit or even adopt a different story format but the key is having a simple structure to your introductions so you make it easier to create a lasting impression.
Another tip is that you often don’t have chance to spin your story so why not give people a business card with a link that explains what you do.
Data Quality Storytelling Resources
One great tool I’ve found for telling your story is
Unleash the hidden storyteller and come back to share your creation.
Dylan Jones is the founder and editor of Data Quality Pro.
He lives in Stratford-upon-Avon, England and has been helping companies tackle data quality for far more years than he wishes to remember.
If you want to reach out and connect with him simply email firstname.lastname@example.org or connect via twitter @dataqualitypro