Data Value?

When I was attending the ECCMA Data Quality Solution Summit in October 2012, I got in an interesting discussion on the quality of a  specific customer data item. The actual point of the discussion was whether an address has quality when you are not aware of what the intended use and value of that particular address was. Intended use? Intended value?  Yes indeed!

As the importance of data quality management is becoming more and more obvious to organizations, the question is no longer “should I manage my data?”, but “how do I manage my data?”. In other words: What is the value of data in the context of the customer’s solution? How is the customer going to use the data? And what is the consequent value of the data for that particalur customer? Is the address mentioned in the discussion above going to be used for a geocoding solution or will it be a delivery address for a postal item?

I think that this is a very interesting way to look at data quality and data management. In his summit presentation, Walid el Abed of Global Data Excellence said that the value of data should be derived from the current or future outcome of the activities accomplished by using the data. In this context, he refers to a paradigm shift from KPI (key performance indicators) driven organizations to KVI (key value indicators) driven organizations.

I like that. At Human Inference we strive to enable organizations to benefit from personal and relevant interactions, based on trustworthy information. It is our “translation of bringing value to the customer’s data.  

International data quality

When I read Henrik Liliendahl Sørensen’s blog on cross border data quality, I made a mental note to write a follow-up blog, because his theme closely borders on a presentaion I am preparing for the 2012 ECCMA Data Quality Summit in Ocober. As it happened, the organization  committee of the summit asked me to write an article on my upcoming presentation, and so I thought I’d combine my efforts and use the article as input for this blog.

As Henrik pointed out, there are a lot of data and information quality aspects to consider when crossing the border, and they cannot be solved by using domestic tools such as a national change of address service. Organizations are investing substantial amounts of money to deal with issues and initiatives such as the value of a single customer view, data integration, fraud prevention, operational risk management and compliance. But how do these investments equip companies for the inevitable internationalization of our business community?

Apparently, a lot of companies doing business abroad often seem to forget that they are dealing with a large variety of languages, names, address conventions and other culturally embedded business rules and habits. If we take a look at European contact data diversity, here are a couple of examples:

The names Haddad, Hernández, Le Fèvre, Smid, Ferreiro, Schmidt, Kuznetsov en Kovács are illustrative for the variety of names in Europe. These names all mean “Smith” in different countries. Naturally, there is a large variety of names in the US as well, but the rules and habits concerning structure, storage, exchange and representation are far more intricate in the various European countries. Think of the use of patronymics (Sergei Ivanovich Golubev and Olga Ivanovna Golubeva), prefix sorting and different significations for similar name components. An even greater challenge lies in the interpretation and processing of European postal addresses. The variety in address components and the differences in order and formatting of these components are extraordinary.

Naturally, there are many more data and information quality aspects to consider when crossing the border. Think of multiple languages, character sets, privacy issues, and different currency and date notation. Companies working with international data are highly dependent on understanding name specifics, address conventions, languages, code pages, culture, habits, business rules and legislation.

In my presentation during the 2012 ECCMA Data Quality Summit, I will address natural language processing methods and international name and address specifics. Furthermore, I will show some examples of the application of the insights with regard to international data quality. For more information, you can also check out our website.