I was googling today (or doing some googlage) for blogs that deal with Information and Data Quality topics. Needless to say yours truly did appear reasonably highly the search results. One post that I came across that really made me think a bit was this one from Andrew Brooks, currently a Senior Consultant with Cap Gemini in the UK.
In his post he asks if we are at a ‘tipping point’ for Information Quality where
organisations are starting to move from â€˜unconscious incompetenceâ€™ to â€™conscious incompetenceâ€™ and see the need to spend money in this area (hence the growing number of vendors and consultancies) which are feeding off the back of this.
He mentions that he gets calls from recruiters looking for Data Quality Management roles to be filled and wonders when we will reach the stage of ‘Concious Competence’.
My personal feeling is that we are at a very large tipping point. Those organisations that truly make the leap will gain significant advantage over those that don’t. Those that make the leap half-heartedly by putting a few job titles and tools in the mix with no commitment or plan will limp along, but the pressure of competing with lean and efficient opposition (those who jump in wholeheartedly) will squeeze on these organisations. Those that don’t leap at all will fall foul of Darwinian evolution in the business context.
The danger that we face at this juncture is that when the ship is sinking any bandwagon looks like a lifeboat. The risk that we face is that we will not have learned the lessons of the CRM adoption age when organisations bought ‘CRM’ (ie software) but didn’t realise the nature of the process and culture changes that were required to successfully improve the management of Customer Relationships. Tools and job titles do not a success make.
The same was true of Quality management in manufacturing. As Joseph Juran said:
“They thought they could make the right speeches, establish broad goals, and leave everything else to subordinatesâ€¦ They didnâ€™t realize that fixing quality meant fixing whole companies, a task that cannot be delegated.â€
So, what can be done?
The International Association for Information and Data Quality was founded in 2004 by Tom Redman and Larry English (both referenced in Mr Brook’s article) to promote and develop best practices and professionalism in the field of Information and Data Quality.
As a vendor neutral organisation part of the Association’s mission is to cut through the hype and sales pitches to nail down, clarify and refine the core fundamental principles of Information Quality Management and to support Information/Data Quality professionals (I use the terms interchangeably, some people don’t…) in developing and certifying their skills so that (for example) the recruiter looking for a skilled Data Quality Manager has some form of indicator as to the quality of the resource being evaluated.
The emergence of such an organisations and the work that is being done to develop formal vendor independent certification and accreditation evidences the emergence of the ‘early adopters’ of the ‘Concious committment’ that Mr. Brooks writes about. As an Information Quality professional I am concious that there is a lot of snake-oil swilling around the market, but also a lot of gems of wisdom. I am committed to developing my profession and developing the professional standards of my profession (vocation might be another word!).
Having a rallying point where interested parties can share and develop sound practices and techniques will possibly accelerate the mainstreaming of the Concious Committment… IQ/DQ professionals (and researchers… must’t forget our colleagues in academia) need no longer be isolated or reinvent the wheel on their own.
Let me know what you think….