"Janitor Work" is Not All That Easy

Created by Chet Gladkowski 18 Aug 2014 @ 08:50
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'Janitor Work’ Is Key Hurdle to Insights proclaims an article in today's NY Times. For all the pronouncements about big data and using it to profoundly change the insurance landscape, the grunt work of cleansing and organizing information is Ground Zero. Just ask anyone who has been involved in a system conversion and you will hear stories of dirty that would make Mike Rowe of Dirty Jobs turn away in disgust. 

 

Both agency and company systems are full of nonsensical data and references leading nowhere. To reap the promise of analytics requires information that you can bet your companies life on. Are you that confident in the correctness of your organizations information? Would you allow a surgeon to operate on you based on the cleanliness of your organizations data?

 

Source: For Big-Data Scientists, ‘Janitor Work’ Is Key Hurdle to Insights, New York Times, August 18, 2014

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Everything comes down to having good, accurate, and detailed relational data.
Right on Chet. I've been involved in dozens of massive system upgrades and conversions over the course of my career, and often the "common denominator" that drives success or failure is the quality of the underlying data, and the ability to get it cleaned up. All too often our inability to connect the dots for older data that spans multiple platforms and systems is the weak link in our warehousing, reporting, and data efforts going forward. Hire more janitors now!!
Good points, Chet. Seems to me that there are more than a few degrees of separation between those that can "talk the talk" and those that can (and/or are willing) to "walk the walk".