How Can You Tell Good Data from Bad Data?

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roofby Angela Guess

Lisa Wirthman of CenturyLink recently wrote in Forbes, “In this age of big data, business leaders have access to unprecedented amounts of information about their customers, markets and industry. But how can they tell the good data—information that’s accurate, relevant and free from bias—from the bad? Here are some tips for how to identify the best possible data to inform your business decisions.”

Wirthman’s list begins, “(1) Be A Good Steward. Many business leaders invest in data governance, which designates staff to ensure quality and credibility of data. Whether it’s a chief data officer who leads an entire team, or a few dedicated employees, every organization needs at least one effective data steward to make sure data are being collected and handled properly. Data collection conducted under stringent oversight enables business leaders to catch errors before that information is used to substantiate important decisions.

She continues, “(2) Scrutinize Data Vendors. It’s one thing for an organization to rely on data that it has collected. But what about data generated by outside sources? Misra recommends applying the same level of scrutiny and control to both internal and external sources. Ask third-party vendors if they can certify the data they’re providing, he advised. Does the vendor have a data governance program in place? What about logs that record how data is modified? Can the vendor see how the data originated, what path it took to get to your organization, and who touched it along the way? Don’t be afraid to hold the bar as high for outside vendors as you do for your own business, he said.”

Read more here.

photo credit: Flickr/ symphony of love

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