Garbage In, Garbage Out: Getting Good Data Out of Your BI Systems

Updated: September 03, 2010

What does this study recommend? The short answer is, you should start thinking of your organization as being in the business of gathering data, turning it into information, and using that information as effectively as possible. In other words, you think of your organization as trying to get as much high-quality, potentially useful information to your BI solution as possible, and then analyzing that information, followed by using that analysis to make decisions as rapidly as possible. Then you try to develop a set of metrics that will tell you how well you are doing, and what are the weak points in the process.

This set of metrics measure what I call data usefulness. I define data usefulness as the ability to deliver all needed accurate, consistent, and appropriate data to the right user in a timely fashion. My survey in the study convinces me that there are significant and growing problems at every point in the process of converting data into useful information. Table 1 shows my take on the typical steps in the data-delivery process, the metrics by which the effectiveness of each step should be judged, and the problems that many are seeing today at each step. The key take-away point is that fixes to one or two steps will not in the long run fix the overall data-usefulness problem. Rather, organizations of all sizes need to take a comprehensive, long-term approach to ensuring data usefulness.

The Data Delivery Cycle

Step

Metric

Example

Problem

Data entry

Accuracy

Percent of data items with errors

Majority of businesses report more than 15% of items with errors

Data consolidation

Consistency

Number of data items with multiple records and no master record

Majority of businesses report more than half their data inconsistent

Data aggregation

Scope

Percent of data sources on which a cross-data-source query can be performed

Majority of businesses report they can't do cross-database query on more than 2/3 of company data

Information targeting

Fit

Percent of time data delivered that is not appropriate to end user

Majority of businesses report more than 60% of the time, data delivered to executives inappropriate

Information delivery

Timeliness

Time taken to deliver (entry to arrival on screen) to average user

Majority of businesses report a week or more average time to deliver

Information analysis

Analyzability

Percent of time user can't immediately do online analysis of data received

Majority of businesses report can't do immediate online analysis more than ½ the time

Process adjustment

Agility

Percent of new outside data sources not available within 1/2 year

Majority of businesses report more than ¾ of relevant new Web information not made available inside the company within ½ year

The Data Delivery Cycle also shows that, by users' own estimation, more than 2/3 of the data that flows into the organization is not used effectively. In fact, if you include the inability to flow new sources of data into BI, more than ¾ of the useful data out there never gets used right.

Featured Research
  • How VoIP is Transforming the Healthcare Industry

    The healthcare industry, like many industries, is in the midst of an era of rising costs and an ever increasing pressure to drive down expenses. Now, what if we were to tell you that there was a simple solution to these problems? The answer is VoIP. And to make it sweeter, it allows for your hospital staff to utilize modern mobile devices as resources instead of antiquated phone systems. more

  • Don't Make These 10 CRM Mistakes

    Finding and buying a CRM is exciting. It is also quite daunting as you want to be as prepared as possible so as to avoid making a costly mistake. We have seen that many businesses fail when implementing a CRM, as they repeatedly make the same errors over and over again. more

  • Video Conferencing Goes to Court

    Think technology can’t be utilized in the courtroom? Think again. Video Conferencing within the court system can be extremely cost-effective, efficient, and time-saving. Courtrooms can benefit greatly by video conferencing in expert testimonies, translators, witness testimonies, and much more. more

  • Can Gamification Improve Contact Center Performance

    We have all heard the phrase "all work and no play". Well, would you believe us if we were to tell you that by implementing gamification you can INCREASE contact center engagement, morale, and overall performance? Spoiler alert: 89% of contact center employees believe that a point system within their contact center would boost their engagement! more

  • [Infographic] 8 Common Pain Points UC Eliminates

    Every company has moments of frustration, it is when these moments become extended periods of inefficiency, or pain points, where we start to see loss in productivity and employee morale. What truly sets a successful business apart from those of its competitors, is how they take these pain points and use them as opportunities to improve upon procedures and systems to eliminate pain points and move beyond what was the status quo. more