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Data Quality


The accuracy and accessibility of corporate data have become major issues in today's business environment. These issues are being driven by many factors. 

• The acceleration of the merger and acquisition process is
   causing major data quality problems that are showing up
   as part of standard audits, regulatory audits, customer
   service reviews, and in some cases, litigation searches. 
• The information about
corporations and individuals that
   is being proliferated, in many cases, without the approval
   and knowledge of the effected parties is, in many cases,
   is inaccurate.
Corporate data is being accessed through various sources
   outside of a company's control. These sources are not all
   accurate. New and constantly changing privacy and
   compliance legislation is requiring companies to manage
   access and use of customer data to a level that is not
   always available in their current "outsourced" and core
   operational systems environment.
Most companies don't have true Customer Master Files. In
   many cases, data is incomplete, inaccurate, and in many
   cases, missing.

Data problems can be divided into two categories: foreseen and ad-hoc.

Foreseen data problems include ones that occur as part
  of a known event. Examples of such events are:  merging
  of data from two or more systems (a merger or
  acquisition of a new business); installation of a major
  software package or SAAS Solution; incorporating new
  data sources (including house holding to include geo
  codes) into existing as part of existing; and government
  regulation reporting changes (STP). Solving these varies
  according the scope of the problems uncovered as you
  work through the event.

· Ad-hoc data problems are the tough ones. These are the
  ones that the internal (and more unfortunate, the
  external) auditors, customers, or governmental agencies
  find. When the data problems are uncovered, their
  resolution is placed on the fast track. No one wants to
  admit that there are problems until they are forced to do
  so. No one plans or budgets for data problems. Critical
  resources are not always there when you need them.

Although there are many solutions being touted as the "one-step answer" to data problems, one must accept the fact that maintaining data quality is a never-ending and ever-evolving task. External and many internal data sources are changing as the business dictates. More data is being collected and stored. Companies have new business partner relationships that are forcing them to use data in new real-time business processes outside the corporate data center.

What do we do

Advantageware specializes in solving data centric problems. We do "what it takes" to find out exactly what is wrong so that we can accurately define and resolve the problem. "Data quality" problems are typically first presented in context of other things: the system doesn't work, the numbers don't match, things don't balance.

Our mission is to not only find and fix the immediate problem, but it also create and put audit controls into place so that data quality can be monitored on an on-going basis.

The trick to resolving these types of problems is careful and quick problem determination. This is not always an easy task, but performing this in a carefully defined way makes sure that we cover all the bases and communicate status and results.

We work our clients to first define and document all the symptoms of the data problem. We interview staff and review reports and related process media displays to undercover and document the symptoms. Using our checklists and myriad of tools, we examine processes and their related data sources, examining the actual data, reviewing software and all related documentation, and  running the data through tools to discover data characteristics.

Next we identify and analyze of actual internal and outside data source content and processing to determine weaknesses and strengths. The results of this analysis are reviewed and a recommended solution is formulated. This solution is typically comprised of a data model, user scenarios, process, a technology architecture, measure, and control components.  A strategy and plan to implement the solution is developed and presented to the client for approval.

Although our deliverables vary by engagement, in general we:

• Develop a Problem Definition and Impact Analysis
Deliver Resolution Strategy and Related
   Implementation Plans
Provide Status Reports and Deliverable

Advantageware gives its clients three options to implement the proposed solution: 

· Advantageware can partner with the client and work with
  them on an "as-assigned" basis. The client would manage
  the project and Advantageware would supply resources on
  an as-assigned basis.
· Advantageware can also deliver the solution on a
  complete project basis.
In this case, Advantageware would
  develop and install the proposed solution. Advantageware
  will also assist the client's staff to integrate the solution
  into their own environment and train the client's staff as
· The final alternative is having Advantageware deliver the
  solution on an "operational support" basis. In this case
  Advantageware would develop the necessary solution and
  deliver required information on a scheduled basis
  according to a mutually agreed to service level agreement.

How do we do this

Advantageware uses a structured work approach and solid project management practices which facilitate communication throughout the entire project effort. We also use various proprietary methodologies, techniques, and tools as we carefully work with our clients to define and document the exact data problem. These include process, function, data, and a definition of the client's business and technology environments.

Based upon the nature and scope of the problem, we present our findings and a proposed Resolution Strategy and associated tactical level work plans. These are reviewed with the client for concurrence and approval. Based upon the client's next-step decision, Advantageware can either correct and enhance the current operational systems and processes or build a customize solution using our own tools. We work closely with our clients to ensure that what we recommend and deliver actually solves the client's problem. 



Business Solution Delivery
  (Internal or 3rd Party)

Data Auditing
Data Protection (Confidential
   and Regulated)
Data Quality
Proprietary Software
Special Engagements
Subject Matter Experts