Sources of Inaccurate Data
Before we can assess data correctness we need to understand the various ways inaccurate values get into databases. There are many sources of data inaccuracies, and each contributes its own part to the problem of total data quality. Understanding these sources will demonstrate the need for a comprehensive program of monitoring, assessment, & improvement. Having highly accurate data requires attention to all sources of inaccuracies and appropriate responses and tools for each.
The first three cause inaccuracies in data within the databases, whereas the fourth area causes inaccuracies in the information products produced from the data. If you roll up all potential sources of errors, the interesting conclusion is that the most important use of the data (corporate decision making) is made on the rendition of data that has the most inaccuracies.
Most of people assume that data inaccuracies are always the result of entering the wrong data at the beginning. This is certainly a major source of data inaccuracies but not the only source. Inaccurate data creation can be the result of mistakes, can result from flawed data entry processes, can be deliberate, or can be the result of system errors. By looking at our systems through these topics, you can gain insight into whether systems are designed to invite inaccurate data or are designed to promote accurate data.