Have you ever met someone who made a great first impression, but the more you got to know them, the more flaws you noticed? Maybe they said one thing but did another. Or you expected them to show up at the designated place and time and they failed to show up. Or sometimes, they are just nothing like what you’d thought and you realized you made false assumptions. Well, sometimes your data can be the same way. At a first glance, it isn’t always immediately clear what issues may be lurking just past the surface within your data. That’s where data profiling comes in.
Data profiling allows you to examine and analyze your data to find out what you truly are working with: what relationships exist, where information is missing, how many duplicates you have, and which information needs to be reformatted. Especially when you can analyze the full volume of your data, profiling grants you unprecedented insight into what information your data holds. Imagine, for example, that you never realized that your transaction data is formatted MM/DD/YY, but your shipping information is MM/DD/YYYY. When you are looking at those pieces of information individually, this difference wouldn’t really matter. If management, however, suddenly decides to look at how shipping dates measure up against their corresponding transaction dates, the minor discrepancy in how the dates have been entered can create problems. Data profiling helps you pick up on these formatting issues so that you can standardize similar data to make it easier to analyze and draw conclusions from your data.
While inconsistency in date formatting is pretty harmless, sometimes data profiling reveals errors that would have a greater impact on your business. What if a group of social security numbers was entered where phone numbers were supposed to be? Or if credit card information accidentally got input into the address field? As unlikely as these scenarios may sound, we have seen similar situations arise for some of our customers. When working with sensitive information, it is even more crucial that you ensure information goes into the right fields and that you have precautions in place—such as data profiling—to identify outliers and enable you to proactively remedy the issues.
Data profiling is a powerful way to browse your data. It can help you get a better understanding of potential relationships among your information that you didn’t know existed, but it can also reveal the errors lingering in your systems. Profiling can help you take control of your data before your data gets out of control. Whether you are looking to make connections, or you are searching for potential issues, data profiling can help you get more out of your data.
Are you ready to see how it works?