Data has become the most important and most valuable asset for many businesses. And when used effectively, data has the power to improve decision-making, predict customer behaviours, and transform an organization.
But some companies still struggle to tap into huge volumes of data and generate value from it.
In this episode of the Data-Driven Leaders podcast…
In this episode of the Data-Driven Leaders podcast, our host Christina O’Reilly welcomes Derek Manuge, the co-founder and CTO of Railz. They chat about the most common data challenges, the importance of cybersecurity, and the best data management practices.
*Show notes and key insights below…
Listen to Episode 7: Why Data Quality is Essential in Data Management
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Why Data Quality Is Essential in Data Management: Episode 7
⚡ Data is a strategy that many businesses are starting to focus on. Data offers a great deal of potential for companies to generate valuable insights. But with the enormous amounts of data that has become available, you have to look at your data as a business strategy.
“In certain sectors of the economy, it’s becoming mandated in a regulatory fashion, whether it’s banking data or — even some of the open finance and open banking policies that are being put forth around the world. And this primarily relates to security and privacy, but not necessarily to the usage of that data and how you can really extract valuable insights from it. So data, obviously we’re getting more and more of it each year, more than we can actually use, more than what’s actually relevant. So it’s really up to the end-user and, in many cases, us, to help contextualize that information so that people can build insights and analytics on top of it.”
⚡ What are the greatest challenges related to huge volumes of data? Since many businesses nowadays are struggling to tap into their huge volumes of data, it’s become more crucial than ever to measure data quality.
“I think it starts with the old adage ‘Garbage in, garbage out.’ And I do think that a lot of institutions are not placing enough emphasis on the quality of data, especially if they plan on using it in some type of financial operation or even in a significant material way within their companies. Now, when we talk about what data quality is, everyone tends to have a different perspective on what it means, and rightfully so, because it depends on how you plan on using that data.”
⚡ We need to take cybersecurity seriously. Without a doubt, today, security attacks are more severe than ever. According to Derek, cyberattacks are real threats that could devastate a company.
“There are avenues where people are still actively attempting and in fact, at a higher frequency now than before, trying to grab that information and use it either in nefarious ways or otherwise. But I do think that at least the temperature, maybe, has increased slightly in the last couple of years as the world has become more remote and as we recognize that cyber risks are potential threats, and how we, as organizations and people, can essentially throw out those potential attacks and risks to the future.”
Episode 7 Highlights
💡 How to measure data quality
“The way that I view data quality can be broken down into a number of different characteristics. For us — because we play in the financial and accounting data space — obviously there’s the characteristic of completeness, which is crucial where you want to make sure that if you’re looking at financial data on an individual business, you actually have the complete financial set of information available to you. If you’re missing half of the balance sheet or a hundred transactions, well, that’s no good, and you’re going to end up making poor decisions as a result of that.
So there are ways that have internally helped manage against that in order to ensure completeness.”
💡 Some people spend too much time cleaning up their data instead of being more strategic about it
“I think that’s the reason why Railz exists in the first place. We’re almost like your outsourced data science team or data analytics team in the sense, ‘Let us take care of that data aggregation and the cleaning and normalization and analytics so you can focus on your core product. And you can build whatever service or software that you want to supply to your end customer, so you don’t have to worry about the tooling and the infrastructure, that’s all under the hood.’ You can effectively think of us as that data infrastructure layer on top of which our customers are building those next-generation financial service products or other types of products.
So it’s in many ways, I think, a reason we exist in the first place, and it’s so that you don’t have to spend time like I was doing in my early days — 40 to 80 percent of my time — actually cleaning and playing with the data.”
Three tips for improving your data management strategy
💡 “I think it’s important that institutions think about managing those risks that may or may not exist today. Two, think about the long-term design and architecture of how you want to manage your data. And this goes into how it’s going to be used by the end product or the end-user. Does the data have to be available at all times? Does it have to be timely? What’s the format of the data that would be best ingested by the end-user?
And then finally, think about the users in the context of what is the best way to showcase it to them because not everyone is a data-minded individual, and sometimes, graphs and visualizations are the best way for people to digest that information.”
About Our Guest: Derek Manuge
💡 What he does:He’s the Co-Founder and CTO at Railz.
💡 Noteworthy: Before Railz, Derek worked as a financial risk and statistical consultant and was otherwise known as “The Quant from Canada.” In 2019, he was recognized as a Top 25 Leader in Lending by the Canadian Lenders Association.
💡 Company: Railz
💡 Where to find David: LinkedIn