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BT Group, formerly British Telecom, struggled with data quality problems for a number of years. Poore product inventory data and customer billing errors were hindering its interactions with suppliers and customers. BT Group was spending too much time and effort correcting data.

BT Group started taking data quality seriously in 1997. Nigel Thrner, project lead manager for BT data quality programs, identified a data quality "champion" in each of BT's major lines of business to lead an infor¬mation management forum. Each information man¬agement group targeted specific projects with demon¬strable returns on investment, such as improving private-inventory recordkeeping to increase the num¬ber of disconnected circuits returned to stock for reuse or correcting names and addresses in marketing data to reduce the number ofletters sent to the wrong peo¬ple. As the project expanded, Thrner's group central¬ized data management and developed a data quality methodology that incorporated best practices from inside and outside the company.

By improving the quality of its data, BT Group saved as much as $800 million from improved inventory data and interactions with customers and suppliers and increased revenue through more accurate billing. To maintain a high level of data quality in its databases, BT uses data profiling and cleansing tools from Trillium Software to identify and remove erroneous data on an ongoing basis.

Emerson Process Management, a global supplier of measurement, analytical, and monitoring instruments and services based in Austin, Texas, had to retire a new data warehouse designed for analyzing customer activity to improve service and marketing because the warehouse was full of inaccurate and redundant data. The data in the warehouse came from numerous transaction pro-cessing systems in Europe, Asia, and other locations around the world. The group that had designed the warehouse had assumed that sales groups in all these areas would enter customer...
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