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article imageCTO analysis: COVID-19 data quality challenges Special

By Tim Sandle     Aug 13, 2020 in Business
During the upheaval of the coronavirus pandemic, how reliable is businesses data? Is it as integral as before? How can companies assess the reliability and veracity of the data they are being presented with?
Stan Christiaens, CTO and co-founder of Collibra, the Data Intelligence company, tells Digital Journal just how decision-makers in leading firms can get to know if the quality of data they are using to base decisions around is reliable. This includes essential data linked to the re-opening the economy. Given the big financial risks that many firms are grappling with, it is important for business executives to know that the data they are being presented with can be trusted.
Any company should have practices in place to ensure that data is reliable. The ALCOA mnemonic is useful as a benchmark assessment. ALCOA represents data that is: Attributable, Legible, Contemporaneous, Original and Accurate.
This will include policies that set out clear accountabilities for managers to create data correctly, input controls, and efforts to find and eliminate the root causes of error. However, what about data being received from external sources? How can market intelligence be assessed?
According to Stan Christiaens, the essential concern relating to data "is that it is incomplete." And incomplete data creates uncertainty, which arises because leaders "don’t know enough yet about the disease and its solution."
This is something companies need to acknowledge at all times, according to Christiaens: "All decision makers face this problem on a daily basis, which is why it is all the more important to be able to trust the data you DO have and knowing what data you don’t have yet and maybe never will. Based on that trust you can make the best possible decision and adjust as new data comes alive.”
Key questions about data:
Where is the data coming from?
What is the business context relating to the data?
How is the data measured?
What cases are counted when the data was compiled?
How was the data collected and analyzed?
Who has compiled the data?
In terms of recommendations, Christiaens advises: “Not all data is created equally so you must make sure to treat the important data as a strategic asset: What does it mean? Where does it come from? Who knows something about it? Who is an owner? Who is a user and why? What sources are certified for which purposes? By taking this approach, leaders can ensure the data they are using can be trusted."
More about market data, business data, Covid19
 
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