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Data Quality: Treating the Cause, Not the Symptom

There’s a thing in Western medicine that has always driven me bonkers. Western medicine seems to always treat the symptoms rather than treat the problem. 

And nearly all the drugs that we have on the market today are specifically designed to make you feel better in the moment, but not necessarily get down to the heart of the problem.

I think that that’s one of the reasons why you have chronic health problems in the United States, and one of the many reasons that you don’t necessarily in other countries, and the data would bear that out. 

The unfortunate thing about this is that that mentality bleeds into how we work because it’s already a part of our lives – in the United States, especially. 

A lot of times a business unit will come up with, “Hey, we’re seeing this particular problem, we’re not able to see the particular report which would allow us to make these sorts of decisions. So please go build it ASAP so that we can at least see what we need to see.”

And then you build them the report, and it’s still not showing them what they need. And they start to realize that, okay, this problem is a little bit bigger than just us being able to visualize the data; the data quality behind it needs to be fixed, too. 

Usually, they will stop there, because they don’t have the funding, and they didn’t ask for enough. There isn’t enough appetite to actually go and fix the problem, rather than simply acknowledge that there is a problem and then move on.

And this kind of decision-making runs through a lot of enterprises in a lot of industries, which means that underlying problems – like a lack of data organization, governance or verification, or data quality in general, which often has more to do with how systems communicate with each other around the data they handle – are allowed to remain, and the problem becomes much bigger and more impactful than one or two missing reports.

Once a proper chain of responsibility for data quality is established with regular checks to ensure that the problem isn’t continuing to show up, i.e. that it’s actually been fixed, you’ll find that your systems work together to give you actionable data you can use long-term, rather than continuing to chase glitch after glitch.

Treat the cause, not the symptom.

If you’re ready to get systems in place that will contribute to healthier, more efficient operations now and high data quality in the long term, let’s talk.

-Tim