Something happened on the way to better data quality...

In our organization's journey to better manage data quality, I'd have to say "Something happened on the way to better data quality"...

What happened? Well, somewhere along the way we realized that around 80% of the "issues" we were having were not "technology" problems but "social" issues. These "social" (or human issues) include, but are not limited to:
- incorrect or incomplete understanding of the issues clients were facing
- incorrect "configurations" - a.k.a. "Fat Fingering" entries in forms
- insufficient responses to client's concerns

Granted however, we still have technology issues which I anticipate account for the remaining 20% of issues brought to our attention from clients.

In traditional IT help desk lingo, most of these social issues get swept under the rug by the help desk technician calling the error "user error". All too often these technicians make the user/client feel kind of stupid for asking such a silly question.

At the end of the day, it doesn't matter if the issues you have are social or technical in nature, clients see them as "one in the same" and will by default blame the technology. They do this because most of the time they aren't quite as "data aware" as you are. In your efforts to better manage data quality, be sure to understand the social side of the issues being brought to your attention and see if you can address these along with the technical issues you can solve. Sooner or later your clients will have had "enough" issues to cause them to look elsewhere for a solution, so be sure to address these social issues in a timely and professional manner and NEVER make the person asking the question feel stupid for asking the question.

Until next time...Rich


Anonymous said…
As Chris Berman of ESPN University says: "There is no such thing as a stupid question, only stupid people who ask questions."

And I say: "Sometimes when someone asks a stupid question, it's because you did something stupid."

Great post, Rich.

I definitely agree with you that social issues are more prevalent than technical issues and need to be treated with respect and resolved even if technology is blamed by default.

Best Regards,

James Standen said…
So true Rich.

It reminds me of one of my favorite Douglas Adams quotes:

"It is a mistake to think you can solve any major problems just with potatoes."

Just substitute the word "technology" instead of potatoes.

For some reason, when it is potatoes, everyone nods and says- of course you can't JUST use potatoes. But put technology in there, and you'll get an argument. But neither do any good all by themselves.

Potatoes might actually work better- you could maybe have the people contributing to the 80% of the problems over for lunch and talk about it.

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