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IQ in the Language of Business:
Part 3 — Getting IQ on the Map
July 2006
Daragh O Brien

Before we begin this issue's article proper, a few housekeeping points need to be addressed.

Firstly, Graham Rhind's response to elements in my first article in this series was a valuable and welcome clarification. 'Believability' is the measure of how well information conforms to the preconceived mental model of an observer or knowledge worker. If the information does not match our 'world view,' we tend to discount it. As IQ professionals, we must overcome this tendency and seek verifiable evidence to substantiate or disprove those beliefs.

Richard Wang addresses this by placing believability with a number of other quality measures in his model for Information Quality. Similarly, Larry English draws on the mantra of TQM put forward by Kaoru Ishikawa — “Speak with Data,” as does Tom Redman in his approach to Information Quality.

In TV's CSI: Miami, Horatio Caine (played by David Caruso) directs his team to “trust, but verify1.” His Las Vegas counterpart, Gil Grissom advises his team to “trust the one thing that doesn't lie — the evidence.” Belief without evidence is not sufficient to convict a criminal. Why should it be enough to certify the quality (or otherwise) of your information?

Secondly, in my previous article I ended with a challenge to readers to agree or disagree with the sentiments I put forward in my native language, Irish. Unfortunately no one seems to have been game enough to venture a guess as to the quote despite the clues left at the scene of the crime, so here it is in its original English:

“There is and must be only one purpose for improving information quality: to improve customer and stakeholder satisfaction and effectiveness of the business process. This in turn increases profits and shareholder value. Information quality is a business issue, and information quality improvement is a business necessity.”


While the above quote from Larry English was written in a foreign language there was no possibility of opening a discussion. In its original English you can ponder the meaning of the words, debate it, agree or disagree with it.

Finally, DM Review's May 2006 edition carried an article by George Veth entitled “Strategy Execution: Mapping the Path to the Future,” which follows a similar vein as this piece. After reading that article, I've decided to make this third part of my series complementary, rather than competitive, to Veth's article. The DM Review article is well worth a read and can be found online (the URL is provided at the end of this article). While the two articles cover similar ground, there are differences in emphasis. I therefore recommend reading both.