A utility-based model to define the optimal data quality level in IT service offerings


In the information age, enterprises base or enrich their core business activities with the provision of informative services. For this reason, organizations are becoming increasingly aware of data quality issues, which concern the evaluation of the ability of a data collection to meet users’ needs. Data quality is a multidimensional and subjective issue, since it is defined by a variety of criteria, whose definition and evaluation is strictly dependent on the context and users involved. Thus, when considering data quality, the users’ perspective should always be considered fundamental. Authors in data quality literature agree that providers should adapt, and consequently improve, their service offerings in order to completely satisfy users’ demands. However, we argue that, in service provisioning, providers are subject to restrictions stemming, for instance, from costs and benefits assessments. Therefore, we identify the need for a conciliation of providers’ and users’ quality targets in defining the optimal data quality level of an informative service. The definition of such equilibrium is a complex issue since each type of user accessing the service may define different utilities regarding the provided information. Considering this scenario, the paper presents a utility-based model of the providers’ and customers’ interests developed on the basis of multi-class offerings. The model is exploited to analyze the optimal service offerings that allow the efficient allocation of quality improvements activities for the provider.

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