Indoor plumbing was one of the great gifts given to our society by the Industrial Revolution. New manufacturing processes quickly made it so that almost anyone could have running water in their home. However, with the innovation of indoor plumbing came some serious inconveniences and inefficiencies. Until the early 20th century, pipes and pipe fittings did not necessarily come in standard sizes. In 1904, this problem had disastrous consequences; a fire in Baltimore was able to destroy around 2,500 buildings because fire hose couplings were incompatible with fire hydrant couplings.
The development of plumbing standards is only one of a plethora of instances where standardization is required to make the most out of innovation. New technical developments can bring not only competitive advantages, but also conflicts and confusion that must be resolved by implementing standards. This is just as true of data science as it is of plumbing and electrical engineering. In order to make the best, most efficient use of your company’s data, you need to develop standards and make sure your data adheres to it.
The process of developing and enforcing minimum requirements for your data is known as data certification. The benefits of this practice are similar to the benefits of standardization in other areas–reduced conflict, increased efficiency, more consistent data quality, and a more rapid response to quality control issues. While poor data certification is unlikely to cause disastrous fires, it does increase the risk that your company will be basing important decisions on seriously flawed data. The goal of data certification is to make sure your company’s data can be guided and managed to what it is intended.
Every technological advance comes with an adjustment period, where use of the new technology is made somewhat inefficient and risky by a lack of standards. Like the plumbers of the early 20th century, today’s data scientists work in an industry without broadly enforced standards. Developing and implementing data certification capabilities that fit your company’s needs is therefore an important step toward using efficiently and without heightened risk.
Data Clairvoyance is committed to helping our clients develop low-risk, high-efficiency solutions for managing even vast quantities of information; please contact us for more information about our services.