I recently attended a Webinar on SAP’s geographic data services (such as geocoding and proximity matching). In listening to the material being presented, I began to consider a much broader picture of data quality in the current market place. Although geographic data services is not the core focus of this post, I wanted to pass along a white paper in case you are interested in learning more about the topic.
In past posts I have discussed the role of data quality scorecards and the need for Business and IT collaboration, however, one topic that I haven’t spent as much time on is the presentation layer. Although there might be a wealth of information about the state of an organization’s data (through DQ scorecards), how the data is presented back for analysis becomes essential in order to ensure that your audience is interested in what they are seeing and understand the results. At the same time, the means to present data to users continues to evolve – from the days of spreadsheets now to the ability to present real-time information and metrics on an iPad (or similar mobile device).
Data quality (DQ) is often discussed around the concept of a maturity model – organizations often start with a reactive approach (fixing show stopper issues) to a proactive (managed) approach over time. This maturation process might evolve into a full blown Data Governance initiative as well as the inclusion of DQ as a core component of an MDM strategy. In thinking about the use cases around geographic data services, I began to consider how the maturity of and evolution of data quality could also evolve into mobile DQ.
One of the groups participate in on LinkedIn is the SAP Mobile BI group. Recently, there was a post in the group’s forum that noted “Garter Predicts: By 2013, 33% of BI functionality will be consumed via handheld devices.” If this is the case, I would argue that DQ should be at the forefront of the migration to the mobile presentation of information. The case has often been made that your BI reports are only as good as the underlying quality of the data. Regardless of how BI is being presented, this mantra should continue to hold true. At the same time, I think the concept of mobile DQ should also include an evolution.
In a sense, this evolution already started when organizations began to embed DQ on the front end of Web based ordering process. Rather than just presenting the same type of information (cleansed, standardized and de-duplicated data), I think the ability to augment the data, with information such as what geographic data services provides, is key. Through the Data Quality process and the ability to further enrich information, you are providing your audience with a tremendous value add. The mobile BI reports become even more valuable when you can begin to feed the results of geocoding into an application such as Google Earth.
As we continue to move towards a “mobile mindset,” data quality can truly be a means to understand your customer, competition and business partners by leveraging the additional information provided by offerings such as SAP’s geographic data services. The possibilities are endless, however, the good news is the technology and capabilities exist today. It is the integration (and developing the killer “app”) that might be needed to tie the pieces together.