Sunday, September 12, 2010

Data Quality & Critical Decisions

I was very influenced by one quote that I read from Narayan Murthy (founder of Infosys) which goes as follows: “In god we trust. Everybody else has to bring data.” I think this is true for all individuals, organizations and nations. All the critical decisions in the life of an individual, organization or nation should always be based on hard data.

That brings me to the next question. How good is the quality of data on various subjects as of today?

Since information technology came into the picture, the quantity and quality of data has been improving at a rapid pace. But we still have a long way to go. Unless we have standardized data formats for all the critical data elements, we can never get accurate data from all data sources. It is very important that data from various data sources can be complied in a single data warehouse, so that it can be summarized, sorted, filtered in a way that helps us get accurate information which helps in making the right decisions.

I still see that when two partners in a supply chain try to share data, it is not yet plug & play technology. It takes quite a bit of time and cost to achieve seamless integration between two systems and two partners in a supply chain. Unless we are able to achieve plug & play integration between various entities that participate in the global economy, we will struggle with good data which can help to take the right decisions when it comes to critical policy matters in the fields of health, education, business, economics and politics. This has major implications for the future of our planet.

The use of XML standards for standardization and sharing data is a great start and all of us need to play our part in making sure that we help to standardize any and every kind of data that can be standardized.

While security and privacy of data are legitimate concerns and a lot of attention has been given to these points recently, I see that many people have not yet realized the potential of data format standardization, so that data can become actionable information which could help us avoid costly mistakes on critical policy matters.

These are some thoughts that I had on a leisurely Sunday morning which I thought worth sharing with you. Do let me know your thoughts on this topic.

No comments: