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Making Data Quality a Key Component of Disaster Recovery Planning

    Online News published in DMReview.com
September 12, 2001

Most corporate disaster recovery strategies contain detailed plans for backing-up or restoring telecommunications and computer systems.

But equally important is making sure those same plans also include contingencies for data management and maintaining data quality when a disaster occurs. "There are dozens of CEOs meeting with their information technology departments today and asking the question: 'Are we prepared?'" says John Benge, a data management partner in the global risk management solutions practice at PricewaterhouseCoopers in New York. "They might be prepared for dealing with all kinds of systems issues, but companies in general need to do a much better job of identifying the business processes and data programs they need to bring back first."

Corporate America is already struggling with data management and and data quality. A PricewaterhouseCoopers study released in April found that 75 percent of the companies surveyed had experienced significant problems as a result of faulty data, while up to one-third were forced to delay or scrap new systems.

But companies can eliminate trouble (and improve their information management disaster recovery plans) by engaging senior management and the IT department in detailed discussions then drawing up a hierarchy of business processes and the underlying data that support the program. "Know in advance what data you want to bring back first if your organization is involved in a disaster," Benge says. "Many business managers assume the IT staff already knows. They don't. If key account balances, financial statements, billing and supply chain are the key data areas to bring back first, they should be spelled out in the contingency plan."

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