A recent post by Daragh O Brien about the International Association for Information and Data Quality (IAIDQ) and its future got me thinking. I’ve never been deeply involved in the IAIDQ, unlike Daragh, but I was also a charter member, and I have experienced a definite change recently. Or, perhaps, experienced that I was no longer experiencing anything, if you get my drift.
Many of the people I knew who were involved in the early years of the IAIDQ have retired or moved on, and requests to me for information, articles and so on from the current leadership have dropped to nothing. Which may not be surprising, as they probably don’t know me from Adam. Indeed, as Daragh points out, a new edition of the Journal has become as rare as a web form which can correctly collect address data from more than one country (i.e. almost non-existent!). Members used to have a vote on members of the committee – that seems to have been quietly dropped too.
I know that Daragh won’t agree, but I began to be concerned when the organisation started to busy itself creating “Information Quality Certified Professional” (IQCP) qualification. What’s it for? I am a firm believer in educating people about data quality, but I don’t see how a qualification is a useful part of that apart from filling up space on a CV. I have no idea what the qualification entails – my services when it was being formulated weren’t required – but my impression is that it deals essentially with theory and not practice. And it’s clear to me that those at the doing end of this data quality thing have no better understanding of data quality and how to achieve it than they did ten years ago. In fact, as businesses perceive that they need to obtain and manage ever larger amounts of data, even though often they don’t, accuracy and quality are diminishing – gather enough data and take a swipe at it, and you’ll hit a few targets on the way. Maybe the IQCP qualification is useful for some, and shouldn’t be harmful for others, but it does seem to me to have become the central focus of an organisation that should be doing more than counting the number of paying students they can hustle through an exam.
I don’t know if the IAIDQ is dead. I’m not close enough to it and they seem not to want to be too close to me. But one thing I do know. Much earlier this year I received an e-mail requesting that I renew my membership. Instead of immediately doing so, I cogitated on what I was getting out of the IAIDQ (nothing I could think of) and so, in straitened times, I decided to put off the decision on whether to renew until they sent a reminder.
I’m still waiting.
If an organisation dedicated to data quality can’t manage its own data, doesn’t that say something?