Thursday, May 15, 2014

Data Diet

I was contemplating on the title for this thought and initially got concerned with the notion that a diet often refers to reducing or eliminating type of food from ones regular consumption. However, what seems to be a more popular definition for this term is: the usual, or regulated foods and drinks consumed by humans or animals [].

First of all, I would like to affirm that it is not my intention to suggest that you should necessarily consume less data, or less of certain types of data. Instead, I want to focus on the analogy, and on one of my usual themes which is tying business value to business case and to data management.

Why do we diet? well for starters, we need food to survive. Secondly, depending on what we care about (longevity, appearance etc.) - we may choose to regulate our diet to support our health and our fit to society norms. Now while the first reason seems to carry naturally in to the realm of data management, the second reason seems emotional and perhaps disconnected from the topic of data. However, I would like to argue this as false.

Here is why: Data is ultimately managed by people and confidence that the data is well managed, leads to an increase of trust in the data, which results in cheaper and faster data certification and adaptation to change. If the business is plagued with ambiguities, inconsistencies in data quality and overly-complex data delivery solutions - the amount of time and effort needed to address data consumers request is substantially longer since clarity and confidence must prevail. If the semantics are well understood and quality is adequately controlled - the time it takes to understand changes and to collate information is significantly reduced.

Now there are many strategies for managing your diet, and there are many strategies for managing your data. Depending on your business appetite, your daily business demands and the advantages you want to gain from your business level of fitness and fit in the markets in which you operate, you are likely to have a different set of constraints and preferences.

Yes, ultimately you need to choose which data you will consume, at what quantity and which data you will avoid. However, whatever you choose - make sure it fits your budget and your business case.

At the end of the day, being data-obese or data-anorexic are probably both extremes that will harm your business.

So eat wisely, consume from all the source-groups that you need, and do not indulge with data if you are running the risk of data inefficiencies.

Now I suppose the next question is what does "Data exercise” mean in this context... but this is probably a good topic for another post.

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