A high-profile example of a commonplace occurrence: Reality changes and data quality suffers. Sir Fred is now just “Mr. Fred.” Databases must be updated.
Fred Goodwin joined the ranks of Robert Mugabe and Nicolae Ceausescu last night when his knighthood was removed by order of the Queen.
The loss of his title is immediate and he will now have to return the official medal and ribbon that went with his knighthood to Buckingham Palace. His wife Joyce, formerly Lady Goodwin, becomes plain Mrs Goodwin.
Of course, this happens all the time—people are born, die, change their names when they marry, etc. Poor data quality is not necessarily a sign of bad software, or sloppy data entry, or any other kink in the process. Poor data quality can come from the gradual divergence between stored data and the reality it purports to describe.
That’s why data quality is not a project. It is a permanent program, a process, a matter of eternal vigilance.