Accurate data is a fundamental requirement of good information systems. And yet most information systems contain significant amounts of inaccurate data, and most enterprises lack enough of a basic understanding of the concepts of information quality to recognize or change the situation. Accurate data is an important dimension of information quality—the most important dimension.
The lack of accurate data costs organizations dearly in correction activities, lost customers, missed opportunities, and incorrect decisions. Most corporations are very much unaware of the magnitude of the costs. Most corporations are unaware of the extent of inaccurate data in their systems. Most corporations are content in their belief that their data is good enough, although they have no basis for that belief. They are missing an opportunity to improve their overall efficiency and effectiveness and to bring more dollars to the bottom line.
Accurate data does not come free. It requires careful attention to the design of systems, constant monitoring of data collection, and aggressive actions to correct problems that generate or propagate inaccurate data. To have highly accurate data you need a formal data quality assurance program with a specific component dedicated to accurate data. Ignoring the topic or having a passive program with little teeth in it only continues to deny your corporation the full value of high-quality data.