Thursday, August 7, 2008

Eight Recommendations for International Data Quality

Ralph Kimball published last week, in the Intelligent Enterprise,a very nice article about data quality problems in global organizations. In the article, called Eight Recommendations for International Data Quality, he examines the challenges and concludes with eight recommendations for addressing the problem.

The challenges are:
- Languages and Character Sets
- Cultures, Names and Salutations
- Geographies and Addresses
- Privacy and Information Transfer
- International Compliance
- Currencies
- Time Zones, Calendars and Date Formats
- Numbers

His eight recommendations for addressing international data quality are:

1. 90 percent of data quality issues can be addressed at the source, and only 10 percent further downstream. Addressing data quality at the source requires an enterprise data quality culture, executive support, financial investment in tools and training, and business process re-engineering.

2. The master data management (MDM) movement is hugely beneficial for establishing data quality.

3. Actively manage and report data quality metrics with data quality screens, error event schemas, and audit dimensions.

4. Standardize and test Unicode capability through your DW/BI pipelines.

5. Use at the time of data capture to determine the actual time of day of every transaction that occurs in a remote foreign location. Store both universal time stamps and local time stamps with every transaction.

6. Choose a single universal currency (dollars, pounds, euros, etc.) and store both the local value of a financial transaction together with the universal currency value in every low-level financial transaction record.

7. Don't translate dimensions in your data warehouse. Settle on a single, master language for dimensional content to drive querying, reporting and sorting. Translate final rendered reports, if desired, in place. For hand-held device reporting, be aware that most non-English translations result in longer text than English.

8. Don't even think about establishing privacy and compliance best practices. That is a job for your legal and financial executives, not for IT. You do have a CPO and a CCO (Privacy and Compliance, respectively), don't you?

He also mentions two white papers that he wrote (sponsored by Informatica):
- Architecture for Data Quality in an Enterprise DW/BI System
- Architecture for Integration in an Enterprise DW/BI System

It is a very nice article about this important issue to the global organizations.

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