*By Cesar Ripari

If being surrounded by data was the only movement needed to ensure the best business decisions, companies would have already done so. As we learn every day, data collection alone is not enough to transform a data-rich company into a data-driven one. The irony is that the more data an organization manages, the more difficult it becomes to maintain that control. Therefore, it can be concluded that the only way to achieve fundamental business goals is to act on high-quality, reliable data. To do this, we need to guarantee “data health”, or Data Health. 

Ask any company about how they measure the health of their business. No doubt the answer will be a list of data-driven metrics with which it runs its business. Most people intuitively know that healthy data must be clean, complete, and compliant with legal and regulatory requirements. Unfortunately, these factors alone do not guarantee that information is ready for use in business operations. Most companies are unable to measure the integrity of the information they use and it is dangerous to trust data in which this factor cannot be measured. 

Part of the problem is that while many executives think they understand what it means to have healthy data, there is an uphill struggle to define or evaluate data health. There is no doubt that the greatest weapon against uncertainty is information. While almost everyone knows that data is important, almost no one is able to use it to its full potential. There is much work ahead to make effective use of data.  

I support the idea that data should always support business objectives. Data is healthy when it can be proven to be valid, complete, and of sufficient quality to produce analyzes that executives can feel comfortable using to make business decisions. Beyond the executive ranks, companies with healthy data enable everyone to access the information they need, when they need it, without questioning its validity.  

Ensuring data integrity involves monitoring and intervention across the entire lifecycle, and is only possible when it combines three main elements: agility to deliver data quickly in a flexible and scalable environment; shared data culture at all levels; and trust between different departments to keep information unified and updated. It is worth highlighting that trust increases when there is data that is visible and verifiable by all business units and that helps with corporate actions and decisions. 

With data at the center of companies, we are seeing more and more people with varying skill levels worrying about data quality, especially ensuring a “golden record” – the most complete, accurate, updated, clean and, most importantly, data governed. In parallel, IT teams end up being highly demanded to be able to create solutions quickly enough and maintain “golden” data to serve the business. The solution found by many companies involves moving to hybrid and MultiCloud environments. Thanks to the flexibility of Cloud services, productivity can be increased, as well as costs can be optimized. We already see a large number of databases stored in the Cloud and the trend is towards maintaining complex and adaptable structures, as well as a flexible and well-defined data management strategy. 

When organizations talk about data, they often have a specific goal or initiative in mind. Each initiative has an associated business outcome: increased revenue, reduced costs, mitigated risks or improved operational efficiency, for example. Increasingly, Data Health initiatives fall into some common categories that are already familiar to most professionals who work with data and seek faster insights for their decisions. The trend is to have more and more collaborative efforts to create greater awareness about the importance of data quality. On this journey, those who best take care of their data and ensure it is healthy will have every opportunity to shine. 

*Cesar Ripari, QLIK pre-sales director for Latin America

Notice: The opinion presented in this article is the responsibility of its author and not of ABES - Brazilian Association of Software Companies

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