There is an old philosophical question: “If a tree fell in the forest but no one heard it, did it make a noise?” The basis of the question being that every time we’ve seen a tree fall in the past it has made a noise, but if no one heard it fall then maybe this one time it didn’t … but you couldn’t prove it either way.
Centrally important to certain areas of Data Management such as Data Governance, Master Data Management, and especially Data Quality is the absolute importance of metrics and measures. You can’t demonstrate that the quality of data improved unless you measure it. You can’t report the benefit of your program unless you measure it. And, showing improvement means that you need to measure both before and after to calculate the improvement.
Senior executives in organizations want to know what value a technology investment brings them. And the ways to show value are increased revenue, lowered cost, and reduced risk (which can include regulatory compliance). Without reporting financial benefit to management few organizations are willing to support ongoing improvement projects for multiple years. Also, it is important to report both what the financial benefit has been and what additional opportunities remain – management is very happy to declare success and terminate the program unless you are also reporting what remains to be done.