How Well Do You Know Your Data?

by Tico Le
The question of ‘how well do you know your data?’ is posed to two different groups in a BI project or environment – the BI Developers and the Business Users. The answer for both is: there are tools out there to help – and one of those is IBM InfoSphere, a tool that can service both requirements by bringing IT and the business together to help discover and explain the data.
BI Developers

BI projects are frequently used (intentionally or otherwise) to expose ‘dirty’ data to the business. This piecemeal approach forces the business to ‘clean’ the data to ensure their reports make sense, and the cycle repeats as data is sourced from another set of tables or source system.

This journey involves a fair bit of pain, not to mention a hit to the project budget and timelines. In an existing data warehouse environment, dirty data can cause data load jobs to fail, requiring time consuming investigative and corrective actions. What if all this pain can be identified and fixed beforehand?

Using data quality tools such as IBM InfoSphere QualityStage, you can perform data profiling to ascertain the data quality from your source systems, assist with standardisation of the data from various sources, and cleanse the data before they reach your reporting system. The tool allows you to define business rules to detect current and potential data quality issues in a web interface.

The results can be viewed through a web browser or output to a report. The developers and the business can then collaborate to take corrective actions either through the tool or through business process change.

Watch here how rules can be defined in IBM InfoSphere QualityStage to detect and correct common address format issues https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=j0tdpSHehjk.

Business Users

Once the data is in a state ready for consumption by the business, there is then the issue of how to manage information about the data, such as how it was derived, what is the common definition, who owns the data and its definition. Wouldn’t it be great if the end user could highlight a word/term on their desktop and bring up its definition without navigating to another application?

With IBM Business Glossary you can centrally manage business definitions (with approval workflows if required) and have the ability to bring up the definition of a word or term with click of the mouse. Watch it in action here:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=j0tdpSHehjk

Data business definitions are literally at your fingertips!

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