Once upon a time, when asked on Twitter to identify a list of critical topics for data quality practitioners, my pithy (with only 140 characters in a tweet, pithy is as good as it gets) response was to propose six critical verbs: Investigate, Communicate, Collaborate, Remediate, Inebriate, and Reiterate. Lest my pith be misunderstood aplenty, this blog post provides more detail.
Data quality is not exactly a riddle wrapped in a mystery inside an enigma. However, understanding your data is essential to using it effectively and improving its quality. Therefore, the first thing you must do is investigate. Grab your favorite (preferably highly caffeinated) beverage, get settled into your comfy chair, roll up your sleeves and starting analyzing that data. Data profiling tools can be very helpful with raw data analysis. However, data profiling is elementary, my dear reader. In order for you to make sense of those data elements, you require business context. This means you must also go talk with data’s best friends—its stewards, analysts, and subject matter experts.