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Data profiling: Dating your data

It’s no coincidence that “data” and “dating” share the same roots. Your relationships with both databases and another human can be looked at in a similar way! Getting to know either in the beginning stages of a relationship can be daunting, and you may feel like you don't know where to begin. However, just as it is with dating, when you know the right questions to ask, and the right ways to better understand your data, the easier it is to move forward, and all of the unknowns turn into a positive and predictable relationship.

So get ready to dust off your dat(a)ing skills. We are about to introduce you to your data. But don’t worry, we won’t leave you hanging. With these three examples of ways that you can “get to know” your data, we are sure you will “pick number three!”

1. Speed Dating:

Ready to get back in the data game? Just like one might start with speed dating, many people begin to know their database very similarly. You know the drill, you have a list of specific questions you want to ask, and you know specifically what you are looking for. If you are lucky, you’ll get all of those questions answered during your session. However, the depth of those answers, and the meaningful insights you gain can stop almost as abruptly as you hear the word “switch”.

If you have very little knowledge of your data, or lack of data tools, you may be in a very similar situation. You might know a few specific questions about data challenges that you would like to answer, but other data issues in your database will still be a mystery—perhaps even until it's too late.

2. The Second Date:

Feeling like you want to get to know your data a little better? Perhaps ready for a second date? Many companies are, and their relationship with their data can feel a lot like “I had a great time meeting you, I’ll see you next Thursday at 7.” At the point of a second date, you probably know a bit more about the person across the table from you. The information that you already know lets you dig a little bit deeper into those topics, and reveal even more about your date. However, you still aren’t completely comfortable with this person. There are certain questions that are off the table, and certain topics that you don’t touch on. Chances are, there is still a lot of information you don’t even know is there.

If your company feels like this with their data, they aren’t alone. The emphasis on data quality is growing along with the rise of the CDO position, causing companies to place higher importance on getting to know their data better. The amount of information currently available to help companies navigate their data is taking the relationship with their database from a first time meeting, to something they spend a little more time interacting with. However, much like a relationship on a second date, there is still a lot to learn, as companies report not being able to fully identify data issues or maximize their data insights.

3. The Long Term Relationship:

At last, it feels like someone has turned on a light, and you can see everything. It feels like you’ve known them your whole life. The best part? You can still learn something new from them every day.

Now, would you believe that you could be saying this about your organization's data, just like you might describe someone you’ve been dating for years? We are here to tell you even better news: data profiling can make it possible to have the feeling of a long term relationship with your data. Data profiling is being able to know, understand, and predict behavior based on your database, just like you would someone who you’ve known forever. It takes you from looking at your database for the first time, and only knowing a few staple questions to ask, to being able to view your entire database at once with all-knowing eyes. You might even find that you know your data better than it knows itself! 

We all know what it feels like to be at the beginning of a relationship, and the daunting nerves of the road ahead. Data profiling takes away that uncertainty, and allows you to see, with ease, both the good and the bad. Just like it can in a relationship, you can highlight the good, and take note of the not so great, in order to make changes and improvements for the future.

Ready to take the leap and have that relationship with your data? Let us introduce you to Experian Pandora—we think you two would make a perfect match.

Let us introduce you