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Session Summary:
IDQ Webinars: World Quality Day Special

If you missed IAIDQ’s November 8th, 2012 World Quality Day Webinar, here’s a summary of what was covered.

World Quality Day was introduced by the United Nations in 1990 and is celebrated on the second Thursday of Nov. This year’s topic was “Data and Information Quality:  Are We Advancing Fast Enough?” Four speakers--accomplished IQ professionals all--weighed in on this question: Thomas Redman, Melody Penning, Piyush Malik, and Peter Benson.

Redman addressed the question by posing four of his own:

  1. Do we know what to do to make the improvements we know are needed?
  2. Are we fully engaged in working on the most important DQ problems?
  3. Are we training enough people to address these issues? and
  4. Are we staying ahead of events, e.g., Big Data/Advanced Analytics?

In the process of answering these questions, Redman recapitulated the raison d’être of IQ: Since data are so highly leveraged, the risk posed by poor data is particularly acute. He wrapped up his talk by answering the question “What does DQ mean to me?” by replying that 1) we own the problem and that 2) we can do better--we're all DQ stakeholders and therefore must be courageous advocates of it.

Penning answered by focusing on IQ education and the progress being made at the “DQ task level.” For IQ education, she spoke of the hope on the horizon as embodied in the UALR graduate IQ program and its three levels of graduate education--certificate, masters, and Ph.D. and that research = progress, and that IQ is increasingly focusing on the value of information. For progress at the DQ task level, Penning discussed three things that add value to data by adding context to it: entity resolution, DQ metadata, and visualization. On the latter, we were encouraged to remember that “We're all in sales, and visualizations are a great way to sell our product (DQ).”

Malik began by reminding us that the world of data and information isn't what it used to be due to the “Four V Characteristics” of (today’s) data: volume, velocity, variety, and veracity. These four V's contribute to a fifth V, value.  He talked about Veracity or uncertainty of information in the data deluge and how it relates to Data Quality as well as how it would spur further interest in IDQ domain.  Malik then discussed the widening value gap in information from the early days of computing to today, with the inflection point occurring around 2010 with the dawn of Business driven Smarter Analytics initiatives for Enterprise Performance Management (EPM). The gap represents the difference between realized business outcomes and potential business outcomes. With Big Data no longer a mere buzzword, he closed by encouraging us to adopt  Big Data in the enterprise leveraging the “Four E formula”: evangelize, educate, embrace and empower, in order to achieve the fifth E, excellence, and ended by offering that the future is cognitive computing--brain-inspired systems that can easily handle the four Vs.

Benson started his talk by stating that the speed of DQ adoption is indeed accelerating, but often in unexpected places, and that data is no longer a proxy for real-world things but rather is its own reality. According to him, three things are driving DQ today:

  1. Big Data,
  2. Compliance, and
  3. Data Governance.

Benson then went on to state that the next wave of DQ will be crested by three capabilities: 1) Data Portability, 2) Data Provenance, and 3) Cataloging at the Source. Benson concluded by discussing how the combination of the ISO 8000 and ISO 22745 standards ably addresses these needs.

The webinar was wrapped-up by a Q&A session. Among the questions asked were “Is data a cost or an asset?” and “Can anyone (among the speakers) provide a use case to help people understand that fixing data after the fact is not high-quality data?” In answer to the first question, Redman responded wryly that given how it's treated now by most organizations, especially in how little is invested in its quality, one must conclude that it's mostly seen as a cost.  Other speakers weighed in too indicating that we will have done our job as DQ professionals when it's seen as an asset. As to the second question, it was stated that more important than the business case is passion behind selling it. How to sell it? Make it (DQ) emotional, not clinical--get stakeholders mad about the problem of poor-quality data, then let them know it's in their power to fix it.

In all, it was a highly interactive and interesting panel discussion. If you would like to suggest other ideas for future sessions, or to collaborate with IAIDQ please write to IAIDQ services


(IAIDQ thanks Jeff Tyzzer and Kristin Serafin for inputs to our event  reports and to all speakers for sharing  their expertise)