1 - 15 August, 2003

Strategies & Consulting (IT)
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Data Warehousing Report


The Data Warehousing Institute (TDWI) estimates that poor quality customer data costs U.S. businesses a staggering $611 billion a year in postage, printing and staff overhead (TDWI estimates based on cost-savings cited by survey respondents and others who have cleaned up name and address data, combined with Dun & Bradstreet counts of U.S. businesses by number of employees.).

Frighteningly, the real cost of poor quality data is much higher. Organizations can frustrate and alienate loyal customers by incorrectly addressing letters or failing to recognize them when they call, or visit a store or Web site. Once a company loses its loyal customers, it loses its base of sales and referrals, as well as future revenue potential.

Given the business impact of poor quality data, it is bewildering to see the casual way in which most companies manage this critical resource. Most companies do not fund programs designed to build quality into their data in a proactive, systematic and sustained manner. According to TDWI's Data Quality Survey, almost half of all firms have no plan for managing data quality.

Part of the problem is that most organizations overestimate the quality of their data and underestimate the impact errors and inconsistencies can have on their bottom line. On one hand, almost half of the companies who responded to our survey believe the quality of their data is "excellent" or "good." Yet more than one-third of the respondent companies think the quality of their data is "worse than the organization thinks."

Although some firms understand the importance of high-quality data, most are oblivious to the true business impact of defective or substandard data. Thanks to a raft of new information-intensive strategic business initiatives, executives are beginning to wake up to the real cost of poor quality data. Many have bankrolled high-profile IT projects in recent years - data warehousing, CRM and e-business projects - that have failed or been delayed due to unanticipated data-quality problems.

According to TDWI's Industry Study 2000 survey, the top two technical challenges firms face when implementing CRM solutions are "managing data quality and consistency" (46%) and "reconciling customer records" (40%). Considering that 41% of CRM projects were "experiencing difficulties" or "a potential flop," according to the same study, it is clear that the impact of poor data quality in CRM is far reaching ("Harnessing Customer Information for Strategic Advantage: Technical Challenges and Business Solutions."). A summary can be found at http://www.dw-institute.com/ download/2000_Industry_Study.pdf.).



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