Our vendors are grown accustomed to thinking of themselves as "partners" and now it's time to call their bluff. We have learned that the long term success of our business depends on the quality of the information that it possesses. Without reliable information, the most efficient and productive process will fall immediately into non-productive and costly tachycardia. Tachycardia is the disorder in which the heart's productive rhythm is disrupted and it's consistent, productive beat turns into an erratic, non-productive, and potentially life-threatening arrhythmia.
How can our partners help us deal with this? They must be responsive to questions about data models, semantics and relationships. They must show evidence that their internal consistency is at least as good as ours. You may want to audit their process consistency. Companies that have achieved the Malcolm Baldridge Quality Award have suppliers who allowed themselves to become this kind of partner.
You will have a robust Quality Assurance capability and you will want them to be linked with a similar capability in the suppliers' organizations. Quality Assurance has been alluded to in previous posts and the QA involvement is data quality should not be minimized.
Next time we'll address Management specifically.