As the butter churns in Bangladesh

“Correlation does not imply causation” is a saying commonly heard in science and statistics emphasizing that a correlation between two variables does not necessarily imply that one variable causes the other.

One example of this is the relationship between rain and umbrellas. People buy more umbrellas when it rains. This establishes a strong correlation between rainy days and umbrella sales. This does not imply, however, that buying an umbrella causes it to rain—obviously it does not. It also does not necessarily imply that umbrella sales are caused by rain. Yes, being caught unprepared by a rainstorm can cause you to buy an umbrella. But not only do preparedness-minded people buy umbrellas so that they are ready for a rainy day, people also buy umbrellas on, or in preparation for, sunny days to protect themselves from blinding and skin-burning sunlight.

The point is that correlations are easy to find and causes are difficult to prove. It is, therefore, a correlation more often than a cause that triggers us to take what we consider to be a data-driven action. Read More »

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Determining reference data set isomorphisms

In my last post we started talking about the tasks associated with data harmonization; the topic of this week’s post is determining that two reference data sets refer to the same conceptual domain.

First, let’s review some definitions:

  • A value item is a representation of a specific value meaning in a value domain.
  • A value domain is a collection of value items.
  • A conceptual domain represents the meanings of the permissible values in a value domain.
  • A value meaning is a relation between a concept in a conceptual domain and a value item. Read More »
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3 (low cost) tactics for data quality improvement

When I speak to our members on Data Quality Pro, a lot of their fears revolve around budgetary issues:

  • “Will I be able to create a compelling business case for the finance steering committee?”
  • “Will our funding run out before we complete phase 1?”
  • “How can we hire new staff before we’ve demonstrated value to the business?”

Data quality management is often seen as a cost-base for an organisation but it doesn’t need to be that way. There are many tactics that can be deployed to help improve the quality of your data without calling for a cast of thousands and an executive begging bowl. Read More »

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DaaS Is BaaS

The explosion in enterprise technology over the past decade is perhaps only rivaled by the commensurate explosion in terms. There's no shortage of "as a service" terms today. They include:

  • Software as a service
  • Infrastructure as a service
  • Platform as a service
  • Next generation Big Data Platform as a Service (You know, because this generation's Big Data Platform as a service is so dated.)
  • Database as a service
  • Service as a service

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What is reference data harmonization?

A few weeks back I noted that one of the objectives on an inventory process for reference data was data harmonization, which meant determining when two reference sets refer to the same conceptual domain and harmonizing the contents into a conformed standard domain. Conceptually it sounds relatively straightforward, but as with most data management techniques, its apparent simplicity hides a significant amount of complexity. Read More »

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Big data, Hadoop, and the Internet of Things walk into a conference

The panel moderator looks out over the audience. It’s a large crowd. For the first time ever, Big Data, Hadoop, and the Internet of Things are appearing on stage together. The conversation has just begun, so let’s listen in for a minute.

Big Data: “…and people have been trying to define me for years. No one seems to agree on who or what I am, but folks, here I am. Look at me: I am not 3V’s. I am so much more!”

Moderator: “Indeed you are, Big Data, and we are very happy to have you here with us this morning. Hadoop, want to introduce yourself?”

Hadoop: “Hi, my name is Hadoop and I recently turned eight years old.”

Moderator: “Happy birthday!” Read More »

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The celebrity of data: Big data goes big time in your organization

We were once oblivious to data. It was in the background. Just noise. The “byproduct” of applications that we used every day. A nuisance that screwed up every system migration or install.

Now, we wonder, who’s seeing our data? How might they use it? We constantly check and review our Facebook privacy settings. Can our data have an impact on our business and personal relationships? Have you ever Googled yourself to see what others can find on you? Read More »

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How to re-frame your data quality elevator pitch

If you work in a data quality team then chances are you’ll experience that awkward moment when someone in your organization asks the obvious question:

"So what does a data quality team do?"

Most people (outside of data quality) find this a relatively straightforward question to answer, but it always strikes me at events and industry meetups just how many people struggle to convey the importance and function of their data quality role. Read More »

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Better videos through data?

A few years ago, I hosted a webinar for students at Full Sail University. I discussed my third book, The New Small. After I covered my material, I opened up the floor for questions like this one:

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A seasonal perspective on a single version of the truth

Yesterday was one of the two times a year that an equinox occurs. From its Latin roots, the term equinox translates as equal night since, on the day of an equinox, daytime and night are of approximately equal duration. This occurs because during an equinox the Sun is aligned with the center of the Earth.

An equinox also marks the changing of the seasons. What seasons, however, depends on your perspective. If you live in the Northern Hemisphere, yesterday marked the end of summer and the beginning of autumn, making it the autumnal equinox from your perspective. Whereas, if you live in the Southern Hemisphere, yesterday marked the end of winter and the beginning of spring, making it the vernal equinox from your perspective.

So depending on what side of the planet you live on, autumn either starts in September or March. Or if you live somewhere along the Equator, such as Indonesia, then autumn never starts—because the seasons never change. Read More »

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