The Importance of Data Quality
As computer packages become more sophisticated, so do the humans who use them to present data. The data buzzword now is not presentation, but visualization – one look at the hashtag #dataviz will show you how many people are demonstrating new and visual ways to show off their data, with many more specialist computer packages to help them.
Even the processes and job titles sound more up-to-date and exciting now. We data processors used to hand over the data to the data analysts. But now there are a host of new job titles, such as data journalists, data visualizers and data scientists, who all do the same thing in a more exciting-sounding way.
SwissPeaks are excited to be part of this evolving process, as an increasing part of our client offering is the data dashboard. We can present our data in an easily-accessible and highly visual way, and our dashboards to all of our clients are bespoke, offering exactly what each client needs. You know you can rely on the quality of the data in your dashboard if we have been involved in the processing and cleaning of the data, having developed a sturdy quality charter over our tenure. Does this mean that the traditional data processing requirement is a thing of the past?
Last month, I attended a corporate demonstration of the latest version of one of the data industry’s leading software packages. The capabilities they have of presenting data, and the ease with which a user can pick up the basics to show some pretty nice-looking stuff is seriously impressive. Want sales figures and forecasts? Couple of clicks, drag into position, choose between several attractive options, and you have a great graphic. Got some market research data to present? Ah, yes – that’s possible, but accompanied by a nervous laugh. “Market research data is the worst …”
The information industry is moving fast, but it needs market research data specialists. If anyone knows that there’s more to data than traditional spreadsheets and databases, it’s we data processors, who continue to bridge the gap, and for as long a market research data remains “the worst” that gap, and that need, will remain.
Recently, data collection organisation Crowdflower published research based on a 2015 survey of data scientists, with interesting, (and re-assuring) results. When polled as to the most time-consuming task, the top answer among data scientists, with 66.7% mentioned, was “cleaning and organising data”. When asked to name their biggest daily obstacle, 52.3% of data scientists quoted “poor quality data”. Among all the positives of the role, the message was clear on what data scientists need to do their job: clean, good-quality data.
It’s an often quoted adage that “you only get out what you put in”. And that’s equally true in the exciting world of data visualisation. Without quality control and specific market research data expertise, you get nothing (except frustrated data scientists). So the most important element is not the software, or the data scientist (/journalist/visualiser), but the data itself. Good news for us at SwissPeaks – if it’s clean, quality controlled market research data you need, you know where to come!