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Decluttering your data using feng shui

Sam Weiner Data quality

Commonly known as an ancient Chinese philosophical method of organization, feng shui is more factually known as the harmonization and orientation of one’s surroundings in an auspicious manner. While feng shui is mostly practiced as a way of strategic organization, let’s take a minute to relate this ancient concept to something a little more abstract: data quality.

We can apply feng shui concepts to data quality in one very simple way—clutter removal. In an optimal clutter-free world, every second we spend on a task would be optimized. Imagine finding what you need when you need it! You could maximize productivity and channel positive energy into endless accomplishment. In a recent study conducted by the Ponemon Institute, Corporate Data: A Protected Asset or a Ticking Time Bomb, 73 percent of end users stated that the growth of numerous types of company data have significantly affected their ability to find and access that data. While it is important to clean, standardize and de-clutter existing dirty data, insuring new data is clean at point-of-capture is truly the key to improving the overall health of data within your organization.

Applying feng shui principles of orientation and organization to your data capture can also allow you to make use of what may currently be invalid or unusable data. Strategic data organization takes an important role in keeping your data clean: Should my data be cloud- based, either on- or off-premise, or stored physically or digitally? You should start by determining the source of organization, then apply that single concept through all your business units, allowing for harmonious collaboration.

Additional concepts we see in this ancient Chinese tradition are simplicity and consistency. In a world of over-complication, we find ourselves trying to ‘modernize’ and progress our methods of data organization. While modernization is integral to business growth, we commonly see this leading to disorganization and lack of communication not only between companies but all the way down to business teams.

Dissecting the meaning of feng shui can help us reflect back on one final theme: equilibrium. “feng,” which translates to “wind,” requires a peaceful balance of energy as the medium through which it flows, traditionally water or “shui.” Ultimately, we want our data flowing through its channels in a harmonious, clutter-less and balanced way. It’s clear the relation between topics is abstract, but as we progress this data revolution, it’s important to remember we are merely at the forefront of data growth and knowledge collection. Whether the application is through the simplistic feng shui methodology or not, utilizing a data quality solution is integral to setting your business up for the future.

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