Data Quality – Why I Do What I Do

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Data quality and governance might be one of the most unrecognized professions. Oftentimes, I find myself faced with the question “What do you do?” The underlying question is also “Why do what you do?”  The short answer is that what I do is deeply important. Data quality is absolutely necessary for an organization’s success – be it for-profit, government, healthcare, education, or non-profit. Whether you realize it or not, the hidden costs of poor data quality are impacting your organization.


Danette McGilvray, President and Principal of Granite Falls Consulting, Inc

Danette will be presenting her seminar & workshop Ten Steps to Data Quality for IRM UK in London on 7-8 June 2016 and 8-9 December 2016


In a world where information spreads more rapidly than word of mouth, mistakes can be incredibly costly. Think of this—businesses live and die by publicity. Disrupting one customer’s order can lead to a terrible online review or an angry tweet that spreads faster than you can address the problem. This is only one example. Bad data has a myriad of ramifications: disrupted supply chains, badly informed business decisions, and, ultimately, lost business, higher costs and revenue loss.

On the other end of the spectrum, the correct information can help employees be more efficient, gain a better understanding of the customer, and help leadership make business decisions rooted in accurate metrics.

Data quality is crucial to many people. Marketers, who focus on customer relationship management (CRM) to personalize their message, immediately come to mind. There are also less obvious parties that are directly affected by data quality.  Manufacturers, for example, depend on accurate inventory to ensure that automated systems order the appropriate parts so they are available when needed. C-Suite executives look to trustworthy financial data and performance measures to ensure they are well-informed with regard to the health of their organization.

Everyone recognizes the need for technology. Technology is essential– but no software can erase the necessity for professionals with a deep knowledge of managing data quality and leaders who ensure appropriate management systems are in place to advance the quality of data. While many professions and industries are at risk of becoming outdated in our fast-paced world, data quality is not among them.

Imagine a healthy body—it is full of veins and arteries that pump blood through the system, keeping the brain, organs and extremities strong. The blood is crucial to the health of the whole—one clot in one artery can lead to significant injury or death. Data runs through an organization like blood through a body—but bad data quality can lead, either swiftly or slowly, to demise.

Data is the life-blood of any organization, and its quality should be managed accordingly. Such is the value of data quality. That is why I do what I do.

Danette McGilvray is president and principal of Granite Falls Consulting, a firm that helps organizations increase their success by addressing the information quality and data governance aspects of their business efforts. Focusing on bottom-line results, Granite Falls’ strength is in helping clients connect their business strategy to practical steps for implementation. Granite Falls also emphasizes the inclusion of communication, change management, and other human aspects in data quality and governance work. Danette is the author of Executing Data Quality Projects: Ten Steps to Quality Data and Trusted Information™ (Morgan Kaufmann, 2008).  An internationally respected expert, Danette’s Ten Steps™ approach to information quality has been embraced as a proven method for both understanding and creating information and data quality in the enterprise. A Chinese-language edition is also available and her book is used as a textbook in university graduate programs.  You can reach her through email:, LinkedIn: Danette McGilvray, Twitter: @Danette_McG or phone: +1 510-501-8234.

This article Copyright 2016 by Danette McGilvray, Granite Falls Consulting, Inc. All rights reserved worldwide.  See for more information about Granite Falls and her book Executing Data Quality Projects: Ten Steps to Quality Data and Trusted Information™ ( Morgan Kaufmann, copyright 2008 Elsevier, Inc.)

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