Saturday, November 21, 2009

Broken business processes

On the day that I posted about the poor web form design at Informatica I received an e-mail from Talend (another data quality company) inviting me to download a white paper. Inevitably, this wasn't free - I had to provide them with information. And on their drop down for country name they forgot Faeroe Islands but, more damagingly, included "Yugoslavia". Yugoslavia hasn't existed since 2003, and our memories shouldn't be so short that we forget the bloodshed which accompanied its disintegration.

Look, I know how difficult it is for companies to ensure that everything is known to all people in all departments. Information doesn't flow well - there are barriers everywhere, and though there are people at Talend and Informatica who know better than to make mistakes like this, they can't be everywhere checking everything before it gets posted.

But what really gets me down about these examples is that in both cases the companies concerned contacted me and let it be known that they saw the problems and would correct them. And yet in both cases the forms are still online and are still unchanged.

So how broken do your company processes have to be to allow such obvious embarrassments (people, you purport to be DATA QUALITY companies!) to remain online? What is standing in the way of actually correcting these forms? How many dissatisfied customers do you have to lose before anything changes? How bruised does my forehead have to become from bashing my head against these brick walls?

Somebody took the time to point out the errors. Do yourselves a favour Informatica and Talend - correct your forms!


Yves said...

Graham, this was actually fixed over the weekend, probably at about the same time you were writing your post. You can check rge corrected country list:

I am sorry this has taken so long. It's only a matter of resources and priorities...

Yves de Montcheuil

Graham Rhind said...

Thanks Yves! It's good that there are people out there listening.

Ken said...


Well done for pursuing this topic.

As you point out, "Data Quality Vendors" should never permit such blatant errors to appear on their web forms. It undermines their credibility.

What can be done about this???

I believe that you Graham, may have a solution, or at least the basis for the solution.

In one of my recent blog posts, I have proposed a vision of the future for "Plug and Play data". One of the features will be the increased use of Cloud Based verification against reference data.

I believe there is a need for a cloud based "Address Details Verification" facility, based on the most comprehensive, up to date reference data available.

As one of the world's foremost experts on Address processing, I would see you playing a significant role in providing this.

Perhaps the offending Data Quality Vendors would sponsor the development of this facility - for the greater good of all, and to help them redeem their tarnished reputation.

Rgds Ken

Plug and Play Data – The future for Data Quality

Graham Rhind said...

Thanks Ken.

There have been online validation tools for many a long year - long before The Internet became The Cloud - and I've spent a decade building the sources and resources to give as many companies as possible the opportunity to manage their international data well.

The resources and tools are there but they're not being used as they should be, and that's where education and publicity come in. Plugging away at these issues and providing as many free resources as my grocery bill can carry provides slow steps towards improved data quality.

But easy it ain't ....