UALR's Information Quality Program Solves Data Dilemmas

by Robert Bell  on Monday, Dec. 20, 2010 12:00 am  

Acxiom played a key role in the development of the information quality program at UALR. Talburt had worked for the company for 10 years before going to UALR, Good was a longtime member of the Acxiom board of directors, and the company offers scholarships for some of its employees to earn information quality degrees.

The company provided about $275,000 a year for the first three years of the program, including the year the curriculum was being developed, Talburt said.

Defining and measuring data quality is an enormous, complex proposition even for large companies, said Charles Morgan, former CEO of Acxiom.

"All these different people in these different industries were making decisions based on data in their databases, and if data was really bad, you could make some really bad decisions," Morgan said.

But for many years, there was not a formal discipline related to data quality. One of Talburt's last tasks at Acxiom before going to UALR was to put together data quality measurement standards, Morgan said.

For Acxiom, "it's a huge boon to have that in our backyard," said Lorel Wilhelm-Volpi, product marketing manager.

"If Little Rock is perceived as the mecca for information quality, it's very nice for us to be able to point to our involvement in the creation of the program and our ongoing relationship with UALR and being in the same geographic area," she said. "For us, it's a great source of recruitment for some very qualified employees."

 

IQ Principles

One of the principles of information quality is to consider information not as a byproduct of a company's business, but as a valuable asset, Talburt said.

Many people might think information quality primarily involves cleaning up incomplete or outdated entries in databases, he said.

While that is part of it, it also involves "understanding the impact of poor information on the organization, how to govern information across the enterprise, how to develop a culture of quality information," he said.

 

 

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