It is becoming increasingly common for leaders to declare their intention to make their organization data-driven. And good for them: that’s what we mean when we say Data Strong.
After all, data-driven decision making is supposed to be better than guessing.
But, before you embark on your data journey, you have to ask an extremely important question, perhaps the most important one:
How do you know that you can trust your data?
Because if you are taking action on bad data, or even incomplete data, you will make the wrong decisions. And while each small wrong decision might not seem like a big deal, over time those small wrong decisions will add up to a whole lot of wrong decisions. Suddenly, and without warning, your data-driven decision-making could actually end up hurting your business instead of helping it.
Raise your hand if you have heard the term “Garbage In, Garbage Out.” That fundamental truth has stood the test of time for a reason.
If you are not 100% confident your data is trustworthy, these are some of the questions and doubts you might have:
Is my data complete?
What are the sources of the data?
Are we missing anything?
If you do trust your data, you can ask business-driven questions like these:
How much money did mobile make us during the Oscars vs. The Superbowl?
How do we serve our best customers even better?
In my 15-year career as a data expert, I’ve seen the time and money wasted when leaders do not trust their data compared to those who do. In fact that is why we built and launched BigQuery at Google back in 2012. That was a big step in helping enterprises leverage data in a useful and actionable way. It’s also the reason I co-founded Switchboard. Leaders that use data strategically will automatically have a leg-up against the competition.
So my question to you is: are you 100% certain that you trust your data? Because your career can literally be made (or broken) on the integrity of your data.
In future posts I am going to help you make sure your data is validated to help you move away from questioning your data’s integrity. In this way, you can confidently ask business-driven questions to drive more revenue. Meanwhile, here’s a question you can ask your team about the integrity of your data: are you willing to bet your career on the integrity of your data?