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Improving Data Warehouse and Business Information Quality: Methods for Reducing Costs and Increasing Profits by Larry P. English

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CHAPTER 1

The High Costs of Low-Quality Data

“Quality is Free…. What costs money are the unquality things—all the actions that involve not doing jobs right the first time.”

–PHILIP CROSBY

In this chapter I describe the reason why an organization is—or should be—interested in information quality. It can be summed up in one word: profit. Profit, however, is only a byproduct. Profits come when we know and focus on customers' needs and provide quality products that meet those needs. When information products fail to meet customers' needs, profits go down. Information systems and data warehouses fail, squandering the investments.

We describe why data that appears to be of satisfactory quality is, in fact, not. We illustrate the huge costs incurred as a result of low-quality data. We illustrate examples of the costs, including enterprise failure.

There is and must be only one purpose for improving information quality: to improve customer and stakeholder satisfaction by increasing the effectiveness and efficiency of the business process. Information quality is a business concern, and information quality improvement is a business issue. Information quality improvement actually reduces business costs by eliminating costly scrap and rework caused by defective data. It increases business profits by providing more reliable information products that result in more usage, better decisions, and increased exploitation of business opportunities.

Unfortunately, the state of information quality in ...

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