IS Quality- Evaluating your Database

4 Feb

In a previous blog I discussed the importance of databases in an IS, and how the quality of a database may be evaluated. I would like to build on those points.

I stated that databases are essential to an organisation, and I came across a study conducted by the international data corporation. The study was composed of 62 companies in Europe and North America, and had a look at how data warehouses and their benefits. The companies ranged from 3 users to 3000. The study showed that the average ROI over three years on a data warehouse was 401%, and that the average payback was in 2.3 years. The importance of databases is highlighted by these amazing figures. Chuck Kelley, president of Excellence in Data Inc., commented on the findings, stating that “on-going support of users is the key differentiator between pedestrian payback levels and truly impressive results”. This is showing the importance of database users.

I also stated that databases requirements are very subject to each company, and that quality could mean a different thing to each company. For e.g. in a case study on Karstadt, a German Department store chain, their current solution was not working, they switched technology to a “DB2” solution, saving them 3million a year. They wanted to begin using their database as “a BI platform for new strategic initiatives and applications”, their needs and focus of the database had changed therefore they needed to change their system and technology. The case study also highlights user acceptance as a vital aspect of the new technology’s success, stating that they put a “huge emphasis” on it.

Julie George, an expert in the database area, reinforces this, stating that a database depends on your information needs. A key aspect of the quality of the database is “satisfying the information seeker”, and there can be multiple users on one system. Julie also believes the three main factors which influence the structure and design of a database are:

Information size

Complexity of flow of information

Security for information database

The challenge is as follows-

How do we decide headings for a framework that will encapsulate database quality, when database quality is dependent on your own view of what quality is, which is dependent on what exactly your company does and what industry it is in, and what it feels are its main focuses. Heading must be all encompassing while also not being too general.

Perhaps a solution is where a company can put a particular importance on certain features, for example security and size, and place lesser importance on speed. Multiplying the benefits by an importance factor will give a closer measure of the quality of a database which is relevant to your company. ( Scores out of 5)

Aspect User Score System Score Total Score Importance Weighed Score
Security 3 3 6 .8 4.8
Speed 2 2 4 .5 2
Size 3 5 8 1 8

Here user score is a measure of how well the users are interacting with the system.

System score is the how good the technology and IT aspect of the database is.



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