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Information Quality and the Bottom Line: A Case Study (Part 1)
April 2007
Daragh O Brien

In today’s highly competitive world, companies face intense pressure to improve their financial performance and meet analyst expectations. Failure to perform per expectations affects share prices and, more importantly to those of us in the trenches, our bonuses. Margins are tighter; we are all expected to do more with less.

With intense competition squeezing profit margins, companies must increasingly do things right the first time. Scrap and rework arising from mistakes are far too costly and directly reduce the bottom line.

One such company that faces intense competition is Dell. Dell’s CEO Michael Dell has recently announced that the company is focusing on their plan of action to transform the company, improve efficiencies, and improve execution.

I bought a Dell laptop recently. While my purchase experience has been less than stellar (full details at, it does allow me to present a real world case study that illustrates a few best practice techniques, albeit in a manner limited by information and the Editor’s eye on my word count.

The first part of the case study (this article) explores the customer impact and examines potential root causes. Part 2 will appear in next quarter’s IAIDQ newsletter, and will examine how lack of quality affects the bottom line.

It should be noted that this case study is based on my personal experiences. In some cases I may make assumptions about Dell’s processes and practices that might be incorrect — I welcome feedback on any issues I raise.