By Doug Bartholomew A major cause of delayed or failed IT projects, poor quality data is costing American businesses more than $600 billion per year, according to a report from Seattle-based The Data Warehousing Institute (TDWI). Sponsored by Cary, N.C.-based companies DataFlux Corp. and SAS Institute Inc., the survey found a significant gap between perception and reality regarding the quality of data in many organizations. The findings were based on interviews with industry experts, technology users and data from 647 survey respondents. "In recent years, the failure and delay of many high profile IT projects as a result of unanticipated data quality problems is causing executives to wake up to the real cost of poor quality data," says Wayne Eckerson, director of education and research at TDWI. Even so, nearly half of those responding to the survey said they had no current plans to implement an initiative to improve data quality. According to the report, benefits of getting rid of incorrect data include improved customer satisfaction, a "single version of the truth" and "greater confidence in analytical systems." Survey co-sponsor DataFlux provides software for improving and managing data. Similarly, SAS Institute provides data warehousing and analytical business intelligence systems. A complete copy of the report can be obtained by contacting TDWI at www.dw-institute.com.