Maintaining the Correctness and Consistency of Data using BSC

"Data is to an organization" what "DNA is to human existence" as the survival of latter entities in both cases is largely a function of the former

Looking at the present situation, one discovers that organizations are increasingly banking upon the databases they create. Gradually, organizations have come to realize the immense potential of the bulk of values they accumulate. By bringing and arranging these together and constructing meaningful reports, accuracy in predictions and forecasting is achieved. This in turn is used by organizational groups in becoming "pro-active" in acts rather than "finding themselves in chaotic situations, which frequently occurs when in un-alarmed state".

The data bases relate to different stakeholders ("customers" being the most prominent, others can be suppliers, middle-men etc.) and construct varied domains. The reason for taking all the trouble of gathering and maintaining statistics is that these are needed at every step to help managers make wise and timely decisions on daily basis. Using numbers rather than being intuitive in approach is the order-of-the-day, making "numbers rule".

In such a scenario, it is of foremost importance to maintain the accuracy of data to maximum extent possible. A number here or a misplaced figure there can sometimes be enough to spell doom for the group.

This has given way to the concept called "Data Integrity". It is about keeping the database "as it is". This is to make sure that operations like storage, retrieval and transfer do not alter the nature of the content, in any sense or to any extent. Such activities form an important part of any flourishing organization"s IT department as "updating" and "upgrading" of data is needed to replace the "less useful" or "stale" numbers.

Approaching this subject via another direction, one gets to know that Data Integrity can be attained by "assuring that only the authorized sources are able to grab the contents of the database". It has to be protected both from internal elements (data stealers) and external factors (data getting eliminated due to natural hazards like fire, dust etc). This requirement stems from the "possible havoc" that can emerge when crucial documents disclosing the future plans reach a competitor"s hands.

Strategies might fail and well-known brand names can come down in moments due to such "unapproved" flow of figures.

Consequently, companies are required to install the required technologies to bring the relevant reports and numbers together to be analyzed, when need be. They spend suitable fraction of their revenues in "creating and maintaining" back-up systems to avoid the sorry state they would be in, if the data accumulated at a single place got destroyed or somehow it was not feasible for retrieval.

However, the challenges standing in the way are numerous. These involve decisions relating to the "choice of techniques that can be well integrated with the existing solutions of the organization", "making the workforce acquainted with the need and use of solutions" and "keeping the data as it is". An approach that enables quantification of both "the problems" and "answers" is BSC. Former should be minimized and the latter maximized.

The perspectives that can be- Data Loss Prevention Perspective, Technical Competence Assessment, Data Infrastructure Assessment and "Failure Assessment. The indicators that can be put under the heads are- "number of back-ups used", "number of security mechanisms adopted", "user-interface capability value" and "software ability for error detection and correction" for having the "Data Loss Prevention Perspective"; "Inaccurate or inconsistent data index", "capability score of tools and techniques used to access the data", "techniques syncing with organizational operations" and "implementation timeframe" for "Technical Competence Assessment"; "competence of the data model being used", "unification level with stakeholders", "cost: benefit ratio" and "vulnerability ratio" for having the "Data Infrastructure Assessment" and "proportion of unauthorized acc esses", "number of issues that come up in one year", "time that goes into fixing the problems" and "% drop in resolution time". By moving on these lines, one ca n b

e assured of the security and integrity concerns of the database.