Just the other day an interesting article appeared on Data Science Central titled, “5 Insightful Ways Businesses Can Innovate Using Analytics and Data Presentation.”

While I agree with everything the author, Shay Pal writes, she and hundreds of other big data experts and journalists rarely talk about sourcing data nor quality of the data.

Early in her article Pal states,

“An analysed data, well presented, should be able to help in real-time decision-making process. Transforming raw data into crisp insights that can be used in the decision making process is the complicated part. … The truth is, performing proper business analytics accurately turns out to be more complicated than what many companies are tempted to imagine.”

She continues with:

“enterprise marketers are planning to increase their budget on analytics technology by up to 83% in the next three years. Companies are willing to go out of their way to bring on board data and analytics experienced personnel. Businesses are willing to expand their budgets to bring data gurus who can squeeze meaningful conclusions of the large amount of data that flow through their databases every day.”

Do you remember the old acronym, GIGO (Garbage In Garbage Out)? All too often companies and government agencies come to us with awesome analytics technology and not so awesome data from the quality point of view.

In her conclusion, Pal shares,

By embracing advanced business analytics technology and data presentation techniques, there are greater prospects of companies getting better in decision-making and goal setting.

Before throwing technology at a data problem, I firmly believe you should start with the data. If you are going to base your decisions on your data dashboard, you must, must ensure it is the right data, with high confidence in its integrity/quality. If not, re-evaluate your process for data ingest, cleansing, etc.

Start small. Perform tests on small data sets, challenge your assumptions, verify the results, etc. to ensure the data you are about to invest heavily in with analytics technology, will indeed help you make better decisions.