Some TLC for Your Data

December 4, 2009
171 Views

Did you ever wonder why the data error was entered into the system, database, or report that’s right there in front of you?

You can look at it a hundred different ways.

  • The customer entered the data wrong on the website.
  • The call centre rep entered the data wrong on the website.
  • The sales rep forgot to enter his sales for the month of September and keyed it in for October.
  • The programmer entered the wrong statement in the data integration script.
  • The programmer put ‘greater than’ instead of ‘less than’ statement in the summarization script.
  • The business analyst did not provide the correct data retention requirements, and that’s why you have 6 months of summarized data vs. 16 months.
  • No one could come to a consensus on the definition of the value, that’s why we have 187 values for that field.

These are just a few reasons bad data is where it is.

What I’d like to know is what are your reasons, or the reasons you’ve heard. Feel free to let me know, send me a list of reasons why bad data existed in your system, application, database or report. I don’t want high level reasons, let’s have the granular reasons. When I get to 101 I’ll publish the list for all to see (no



Did you ever wonder why the data error was entered into the system, database, or report that’s right there in front of you?

You can look at it a hundred different ways.

  • The customer entered the data wrong on the website.
  • The call centre rep entered the data wrong on the website.
  • The sales rep forgot to enter his sales for the month of September and keyed it in for October.
  • The programmer entered the wrong statement in the data integration script.
  • The programmer put ‘greater than’ instead of ‘less than’ statement in the summarization script.
  • The business analyst did not provide the correct data retention requirements, and that’s why you have 6 months of summarized data vs. 16 months.
  • No one could come to a consensus on the definition of the value, that’s why we have 187 values for that field.

These are just a few reasons bad data is where it is.

What I’d like to know is what are your reasons, or the reasons you’ve heard. Feel free to let me know, send me a list of reasons why bad data existed in your system, application, database or report. I don’t want high level reasons, let’s have the granular reasons. When I get to 101 I’ll publish the list for all to see (no names or course).

However, here’s another reason to think about it. It’s apathy.

Really, really.

To have good, quality, accurate data all you need is a little TLC. For data to be accurate people, need to care just a little more about what they are doing. In the above examples, if people gave a little TLC there would be no bad data.

We live in a rushed, hurried world where everything is needed yesterday, so a little TLC is hard to come by.