Friday, 29 January 2010

A balanced approach to scoring data quality: Part 2

In a previous post I introduced the need for a balanced approach to scoring Data Quality Management. Today I wanted to spend some time talking about the 'Customer' section of the scorecard.

The aim of this section is to discuss methods for allowing us to measure how we are perceived by our customers.

Perception Matters

Whether you think of yourself as one or not, we are service providers. We provide a service to the business community. We serve the business by ensuring data remains at a level of quality that is fit for its purpose. We ensure that data is correctly defined, owned, and managed. If the business community have issues, we strive to resolve these issues in an efficient & timely manner.

Perception is a key driver in the way that the business community reacts to your service. If you are perceived as knowledgeable & helpful, the business community will be keen to utilise your services. If you are perceived as slow & unapproachable, will the business community use your service, or will they look to source the answers/advice they need from elsewhere?

During times when companies are cutting costs across the board, do you want to be perceived as a cost to the business, or an asset to the business community?

We need to define objectives and targets

Before we can begin to measure the perception of our services within the business community, we need to ensure that we have defined objectives.

The key questions to ask yourself are:

What do we want to achieve?
What does success look like?

Some example objectives relating to customer perception could be:
  • The DQ team are seen as data specialists
  • The Business Community are satisfied with the resolution of Data Quality Issues
  • Data Quality issues/queries are resolved in a timely manner
  • The Business Community would recommend services of the DQ team to their colleagues

Setting ourselves timely performance targets against these objectives allows us to measure where we are at against where we want to be.

For instance, in Q1 2010 we may be a small team, so our target would be to ensure 60% of the business community felt that issues were resolved in a timely manner. However, in Q2 2010 we plan to expand, and due to extra resource our target would be to ensure 70% felt that their issues were resolved in a timely manner.

The setting of Objectives and Targets should not be a one-time exercise. Continual review will allow us to consistently strive to provide a better service.

How can we measure perception?

In order to measure the perception of our services within the business community, we need to capture their feedback, and measure this feedback against our pre-defined objectives.

There are a number of ways in which we could capture feedback, including:

1. Satisfaction Surveys

When a member of the business community uses the DQ service, you should send them a ‘Satisfaction Survey’ and gather their feedback.

If you add up the scores 1-5 (V Dissatisfied to V Satisfied) for all participants and divide by number of participants we can get a ‘business community’ score to measure against each objective. If we capture information such as ‘department’ of surveyed employee we could also measure satisfaction at a departmental level. Are we serving one part of the business better than another part? Why is this? Better knowledge of their data? Better relationships?

2. Interviews

During interviews you can take a similar approach to the survey method discussed above. The Interview method is a more personable approach than surveys and may allow for further detailed information to be extracted. For instance, the interviewee may be very dissatisfied, so we can utilise the one-to-one time to get to the root cause of this dissatisfaction.

3. Was this useful?

If you store documentation, or business definitions on an intranet environment – like a Wiki – you may wish to include a control on the webpage to gain customer feedback.

Was this useful? yes/no

But I have problems gaining feedback

If you have problems gaining feedback from the business, you need to find ways to encourage communication. Rewarding feedback with something like "A free coffee to anyone who fills in this survey" really is a great way to generate more responses to surveys.

In Conclusion

Measuring the perception of the customer is a critical part of scoring DQ Management. We all strive for continuous improvement and a key measure to aid continuous improvement is customer perception. If the business community start off happy, but after 6 months they are dissatisfied with DQ efforts within the organisation – we need to be aware, and react to this. Without the buy-in from the customer, where would we be?

In the next few posts we will go on to discuss the other sections of the scorecard before we look at how it all fits together.

Related Posts

Part 1: Introduction

Part 3: Internal Processes

Part 4: Financial

Part 5: Data Dimensions

Part 6: The Dashboard


Charles Blyth said...

Gotta say Phil, I like this. Understanding what perception people have of your service provision is critical in understanding and managing your 'customers'. I have carried out a very similar process in various engagements with great success. Taking this feedback as a starting point to improvement and measurement is a great enabler to success.

Great post.


Dylan Jones said...

Yes, agree with Charles, I like the fact that you're taking a customer-centric approach and not just citing a load of DQ dimensions that don't really relate to the customer experience at all.

I also think it's important, particularly on longer projects, to have lots of regular touchpoints with the customer so that they don't feel as though you've gone off down a rabbit-hole.

The point about targets and objectives is a great one too, a lot of projects get into trouble because they ultimately lose sight of what they set out to achieve.

Great post, looking forward to the next one.

Phil Wright said...

Thank you for the comments.

@Charles. I'm glad you've adopted a similar process with success. I think many people underestimate the importance of perception, both in DQ and BI initiatives. A project may have been deemed a success in terms of delivery and time/budget constraints, but if the
business community have a low opinion of what has been delivered, can we *really* call it a success?

@Dylan. Agreed, regular touchpoints are very important. I believe a lot of DQ initiatives, even if successful when initially implemented, ultimately fail when satisfaction creeps in. Less treating DQ as a project, and more thinking of it as an integrated component of BAU operations.

Garnie Bolling said...

Phil, good points, and thanks to Charles and Dylan for chiming in... Customers need us to be the Trusted Advisor. That has two faces, one: Leader/Coach, two: supporter/sounding board.

A great balancing act. Our sponsor and customers need the leadership and coach to get the foundations started, and there are times the customer needs us to be the support group, keeping the mental momentum going...

Depending on the timing and role, remember having touch points / feed back is always an important part of the score card... thanks again...

Phil Wright said...

Thanks Garnie. I certainly agree with the balancing act point. Like any relationship, two-way communication is required in order for it to succeed.

Satesh said...

A new perspective of measuring data quality initiatives much appreciated Phil!!!

'What gets measured improves' and what we have measured in DQ is basically data and its different quality dimensions. The article bring's in the customer's perception element into play which is 'THE' most important aspect - A feedback loop afterall 'Quality is What Customers Perceive'


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