How to Manage Data Quality (The Case for DQM)

This blog provides a comprehensive overview of data quality, data quality metrics, data quality management (DQM), and the measures organizations can take to improve and manage data quality. It also refers to the importance of the data reconciliation process during replication, and how BryteFlow TruData can help maintain data quality with automated data completeness checks.

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What Is Data Quality Management (DQM)?

Data Quality Management (DQM) plays a crucial role in enabling organizations to use their data to make informed decisions, drive innovation, and maintain a competitive edge. High quality data serves as the foundation for successful data analytics, business intelligence initiatives and generating machine learning models. As businesses increasingly rely on vast volumes of both structured and unstructured data, ensuring, assessing, and managing data quality becomes paramount. Data Quality Management becomes even more crucial with the accumulation of huge datasets over time. Automating Data Pipelines

Defining Data Quality Management or DQM

Data Quality Management or DQM encompasses a set of practices employed by organizations and data managers to maintain the integrity of their data throughout the data lifecycle, from acquisition to distribution and analysis. By implementing effective data quality management processes, you can ensure the accuracy, reliability, and suitability of your data for various purposes. Data quality management is essential for consistent and actionable data analytics, requiring collaborative efforts between business users, IT staff, and data professionals. Data Migration 101 (Process, Strategies, Tools)

The need for DQM

Data Quality Management (DQM) is important due to the significant role that high quality data plays in driving successful business operations and informed decision-making. Many organizations inadvertently contribute to bad quality data by not having standardized processes and guidelines in place to manage data. A consistent naming process and formats for elements like time, dates and addresses may also be absent. Different departments may store data in different systems leading to data inconsistency and poor data quality. This can lead to flawed analytics, misinformed decisions, and compromised business outcomes. By implementing robust DQM strategies, organizations enhance data integrity, trust, and usability, unlocking the full potential of their data assets to achieve business objectives. Overall, DQM plays a vital role in maximizing the value and reliability of data. Learn how BryteFlow works

But what exactly is Data Quality?

Data quality refers to the measurement of the validity, accuracy, completeness, consistency, timeliness, and relevance of data for its intended purpose and is essential for all organizational data governance initiatives. After all, only when you can measure something, can you improve it. The highest levels of data quality are attained when data is easily accessible and aligned with the needs of all business users. Reliable and trustworthy data is essential for effective data-driven decision-making, analytics, optimizing marketing campaigns, and enhancing customer satisfaction. It is a critical factor for organizations to gain that competitive edge. Managing data quality ensures the data is devoid of errors, duplicates, and inconsistencies, ensuring its reliability, currency, and alignment with your organization’s objectives.

Data Quality Metrics to measure Data Quality

Data quality metrics also known as data quality dimensions, serve as the criteria for evaluating the quality of your business data. These metrics enable organizations to gauge the usefulness and relevance of data and allow users to distinguish between high and low quality data. Here are some data quality metrics. Zero-ETL, New Kid on the Block?

  • Data Accuracy: Data accuracy is a measure of how closely the data reflects reality or truth. It evaluates the correctness of the data, ensuring it is free from errors, inconsistencies, or biases. For e.g., a person’s address may have the state listed wrong – MA instead of CA, meaning the data is inaccurate. Learn about Cloud Migration Challenges
  • Data Integrity: As data traverses through various systems and undergoes transformation, its attribute relationships may be affected. Attribute relationships define how attributes are connected to each other. This includes information on how tables and columns are joined and used, and relationships between tables. Data integrity provides the assurance that these attributes are accurately and consistently preserved, even when data is stored and utilized across different systems. It ensures that all enterprise data can be traced and interconnected seamlessly.
  • Data Completeness: The data completeness metric is an indicator of whether all the necessary data has been collected, and whether any potential missing values have been detected. Assessing completeness involves evaluating whether the available data is adequate to derive meaningful insights and make informed decisions. For e.g., if you are reporting on sales of pre-owned homes but if some of the datasets do not display this ownership information, the data is incomplete.
  • Data Uniqueness: Uniqueness is a measure that checks whether a data record is a single instance within the dataset. It is a data quality metric for preventing duplication and overlaps in data. Uniqueness is assessed by comparing records within a dataset or across multiple datasets. For e.g., ‘Charlie Fisher’ and ‘Chuck Fisher’ could be the same person and the record needs to be rectified to prevent duplication.
  • Data Consistency: Data consistency is a metric that evaluates the extent to which data values adhere to established rules or standards, and if there are any conflicts or differences among different sources or versions of data. For e.g., a customer’s marital status may be ‘unmarried’ in one dataset but show up as ‘married’ in another. The consistency dimension examines the alignment of identical information across multiple instances.
  • Data Validity: Validity is a data quality measure that refers to the assessment of whether the data adheres to the predefined rules and constraints of the data model or schema. It ensures that the data possesses structural integrity and satisfies the established criteria. For e.g., if dates are needed in a particular format but a user fills in the date using a different format, the data becomes invalid.  The presence of invalid data can undermine the completeness of the dataset. To maintain data completeness, rules can be established to handle and rectify invalid data, either by disregarding it or by implementing suitable resolutions.
  • Data Relevance: Relevance of data is the assessment of the suitability and effectiveness of the data for the purpose it is intended.
  • Data Timeliness: Data timeliness metric refers to an assessment of whether data is accessible within the desired timeframe according to user expectation (could be real-time or other) and if it is current and applicable to its intended use. For e.g., if data on a company’s sales is needed monthly, it should be available then, and is said to be timely. Automated CDC for real-time data

The Importance of Data Quality

Data quality is crucial for accurate and reliable insights. Users should be able to trust their data and high quality data enables them to achieve the maximum ROI from it. Data implementations do not come cheap and if data quality is unacceptable, it amounts to cash being flushed down the drain. Additionally, data quality is essential for compliance with changing regulations and in maintaining data integrity. The rise of technologies like artificial intelligence and automation further highlights the importance of data quality, since these technologies rely on accurate and abundant data to deliver optimal results. Good data quality instills confidence in the outputs generated and reduces risk in decision-making. Accurate, timely data can provide path-breaking business insights that trigger profitability and enhance productivity.

Data Quality Benefits

High quality data confers lasting benefits on organizations. It is a valuable asset that drives business success, enabling organizations to innovate, gain a competitive edge, and achieve their strategic objectives. These are some of the benefits of using high quality data.

High quality data aids effective decisions and business insights

Ensuring high quality data is crucial for successful data analytics and meaningful insights. It provides decision-makers with precise, dependable, and pertinent information for making informed choices. In contrast, inadequate data quality can result in flawed analytics, unreliable insights, and bad decisions, having adverse implications for businesses. High quality data enables organizations to effectively plan strategies, identify trends, and make informed predictions.

Productivity and operational efficiency increase with good data quality

High quality data enhances team productivity by eliminating the need to validate and rectify data errors, allowing people to concentrate on their primary objectives, rather than spending hours fixing data quality issues. Operational efficiency too, is significantly improved with good data quality. Accurate and complete data reduces errors, eliminates duplication of efforts, and streamlines business processes, thereby saving a lot of time.

Data quality helps in Customer Relationship Management

In the area of customer relationship management (CRM), data quality holds significant importance. Precise customer data empowers organizations to keep their customer profiles current, monitor interactions, and deliver personalized experiences. It enhances sales and marketing initiatives, facilitates customer segmentation, and enables targeted campaigns to drive better outcomes, particularly in the context of omnichannel environments.

Effective data quality management raises data confidence

Establishing data confidence within an organization can be challenging, particularly when decision-makers are disconnected from the data collection and preparation processes. However, by implementing a strong data quality strategy and trustworthy processes, you can instill confidence in decision-makers, enabling them to rely on the data for informed decision-making.

High quality data is needed for compliance and risk management

Maintaining high quality data is crucial in regulated industries, such as finance and healthcare, where compliance with regulations can determine whether a company faces hefty fines or not. Ongoing focus on compliance is necessary as regulations continue to evolve worldwide. In today’s privacy-focused landscape, you need to maintain high quality data for adhering to regulations like CCPA and GDPR. By prioritizing data quality, your organization can minimize risks, demonstrate compliance with regulations, and successfully pass compliance audits.

Data Quality is needed for better data consistency

Maintaining high data quality is required to ensure uniformity across an organization’s processes and procedures. In numerous companies, various individuals may require access to the same sales figures, but they might consult different data sources. Inconsistency in systems and reporting can impede decision-making and hinder cross-departmental initiatives. By implementing an effective data quality strategy, organizations can make sure data is consistent throughout the entire organization, promoting cohesion and accuracy in decision-making processes.

Data quality management can reduce costs in the long run

Inadequate data quality can impose financial burdens on organizations. Identifying, and rectifying data errors and inconsistencies takes up additional time and resources. However, by prioritizing data quality, you can mitigate the costs associated with data errors, rework, and inefficient processes. Improved data quality also brings down your costs. Accurate and complete data minimizes expenses related to reprinting product documents or rerunning reports due to initial errors. Furthermore, high quality data aids organizations in avoiding regulatory fines or penalties stemming from non-compliance.

Attention to data quality helps organizations stay competitive and adapt to changes

Organizations that possess high quality data are typically more equipped to navigate changes in the business landscape and can adapt with agility and effectiveness to accurately identify market trends, customer preferences, and emerging opportunities, to move ahead of their competitors.

What causes Data Quality to Deteriorate?

Low data quality is usually a culmination of several factors. Some of the reasons that can cause unacceptable data quality are listed below.

  • Data Decay – data starts as accurate but with the passing of time becomes inaccurate. For e.g., emails of people can change over time.
  • Manual Entry errors – Comes about when users make mistakes while feeding in data. These could be typos, missed fields, data in wrong fields etc. Source to Target Mapping Guide
  • OCR errors – When using OCR (Optical Character Recognition) technology to copy data, there are bound to be mistakes and misinterpretations – for e.g. zeroes read as eights etc.
  • Errors while moving data – When data is moved from one system or platform to another, there are likely to be errors, specially without adequate preparation. Cloud Migration Challenges
  • Incomplete datasets errors – There may be blank spaces where fields have not been filled in for some entries, so information is missing.
  • Duplicate data errors – Very often data will be duplicated, and you may have two entries that are almost or completely same.
  • Data transformation errors – Data conversion from one format to another is likely to lead to mistakes. Zero-ETL, New Kid on the Block?
  • Data ambiguity errors – This comes about because data is sometimes vague, the format may differ from the conventional, like some phone numbers being longer than the specified number.
  • Data silos and lack of coordination errors – Sometimes different departments in an organization could be storing data in different systems, with different formats and customizing it to serve their own purposes. Integrating this data could prove challenging.

Data Quality Processes

To ensure data quality, you need to establish a robust data quality framework within your organization. The data quality framework shows what processes should be deployed to improve your data. These data enhancement processes are typically included to implement the framework, which may vary depending on the nature of data, quality and technology involved, not to mention the projected results.

Data Profiling

Data profiling is a key element of data management. The steps include assessing the data, comparing it to metadata, running statistical models, final reporting, reviewing the structure, content, and quality of data sources. Data profiling establishes a starting point for the process and helps the organization set standards. It helps identify issues such as missing values, inconsistencies, and data anomalies. Data repair can follow profiling in the management process. It involves determining why and how the data errors occurred, and the most efficient method to fix errors.

Data Cleansing or Data Scrubbing

Data cleansing refers to the removal of inaccurate, incorrect or invalid information from a dataset so it remains consistent and usable across data sources. It may include activities like standardizing formats, deduplicating records, and validating data against predefined rules. Commonly practiced data cleansing and standardization activities are:

  • Removal and replacement of trailing or leading spaces, empty values, particular numbers and characters, punctuation marks etc.
  • Changing uppercase into lowercase or lowercase into uppercase for letters so letter cases stay consistent and uniform.
  • Transforming column values according to the appropriate format and pattern
  • Merging columns that are very similar to prevent duplication.
  • Dividing long or aggregated columns into smaller components like splitting the Address field into fields like House Number, Street Name, City etc.
  • Removing noise in bulk by performing operations like flag, delete and replace for words that are repeated often in a column

Data Matching

Data quality framework also includes data matching, the process by records can be compared to determine whether they belong to the same entity. A data matching process consists of these steps:

  • Mapping columns to match duplicates over different datasets. Source to Target Mapping Guide (What, Why, How)
  • Selecting columns that need matching. You can select multiple columns and prioritize them so match results are precise – if advanced matching is needed.
  • Executing algorithms for data matching. When there are unique identifiers present in a dataset, exact matching can be done that alerts you if two records are a close match. When no unique identifiers, are present, fuzzy matching can be done to calculate the probability of records being the same.
  • Match scores can be analyzed to determine the degree to which two or more records are the same
  • Tuning the match algorithms to reduce false positives and negatives.

Data Deduplication

Data deduplication is the process that improves data quality by getting rid of multiple records that are owned by the same entity. It is one of the biggest headaches of DQM. Typically, when a migration system runs across a series of servers in parallel, data duplication is a common issue. When the duplicate data is identified, it needs to be removed. Which data to keep and what to remove, or delete all and re-migrate, is a major decision.
The process of removing duplicates includes:

  • Analyzing the duplicate groups to determine the Golden Record (best value among a set of sketchy values)
  • Marking the other records as duplicates
  • Removing the duplicate records

Data Merge and Survivorship

Building rules to merge duplicate records by using conditional selection and overwriting of data is the Data Merge and Survivorship process. This helps avoid data loss and hold onto information provided by duplicates. This process includes:

  • Defining rules for selecting master records based on a column suitable for a specific operation for e.g., the master record is the one with the longest address.
  • Defining rules for overwriting data from duplicate records to the master record, for e.g. overwriting the state name abbreviations from duplicates to master records
  • Executing rules allows for conditional master record selection and overwriting.
  • Optimizing and tuning rule configuration to avoid loss of important data.

Data Integration

Data integration is integral to the data quality management framework since it connects and aggregates data from different sources. These can include transactional databases, file formats, cloud storage, and APIs. It then merges this data to provide clean, consistent, and standardized data for various use cases. It involves mapping data elements, resolving conflicts, and ensuring data conformity. How BryteFlow works for real-time data integration. Successful Data Ingestion (What You Need to Know)

Data Loading or Exporting

Once the data is cleaned, standardized, matched, deduplicated and merged, it needs to be loaded to the destination with the proper safeguards. Data export is as much a part of the data quality management framework as data integration, since this is data that will be accessible from a centralized location to all stakeholders for use and needs to be high quality. Here the data model on the target will need to be designed in accordance with the data model at source. You will also need to examine the potential issues that may arise by older data on the source that may cause conflicts while loading. BryteFlow Ingest our data replication tool creates schema and tables automatically on target.

Data Validation

Data validation involves checking data for accuracy, consistency, and compliance with defined business rules. It helps ensure that data meets the required quality standards and is fit for its intended purpose.
BryteFlow TruData helps maintain data validity by checking data completeness.

Monitoring and Maintenance

Continuous monitoring and maintenance are crucial to maintaining and managing data quality. Regular audits, data quality assessments, and ongoing data governance practices help identify and rectify issues as they arise.

How to improve Data Quality

Improving data quality is an ongoing effort that requires a combination of technological solutions, organizational practices, data quality measures, and most importantly the right mindset. The process of obtaining high quality data can be challenging, particularly when integrating data systems from different departments or applications, implementing new software, or manually entering data. Inadequate tools or processes within the organization can also contribute to data quality issues. However, there are a few measures that you can implement to enhance data quality.

Knowing and Assessing Data to improve data quality

Only if you understand the data you possess, can you improve the data quality. You need to perform a data assessment, this will help decide the data you collect, how it will be stored, who can access it and its format (structured, unstructured, semi-structured). How to choose between Parquet, ORC and AVRO

Specifying Data Quality Standards

Based on what the organization deems acceptable data quality (for the intended purpose), you will need to formulate data quality standards for different data types and different data objectives. To ensure consistency across an organization, it is important to establish data quality standards. These standards serve as guidelines for determining which data should be retained, discarded, or corrected. It is crucial for everyone involved in data management to agree upon and understand these standards.

Improving data quality by fixing errors in data

Before ingesting data, it is advisable to identify and rectify data issues, so you can get clean data. DQM initiatives include designing systems that error-proof data entry and highlight incomplete or missing data in records. BryteFlow TruData, our data reconciliation tool checks data completeness and reconciles data automatically.

Implement Data Quality with automated tools

Make use of data quality tools and technologies that automate the processes of data profiling, cleansing, and validation. These tools assist in identifying data issues, streamlining data workflows, and improving the accuracy of data. The use of automation saves time and reduces errors arising from manual effort. 6 Reasons to set up Automated ETL Pipelines

Centralizing data for better data quality

Data quality issues ensue when data exists within different departments or in different physical locations. This prevents users getting a holistic, accurate view of data. A good solution to this is centralizing the data and allowing teams access to this unified source, preferably on the Cloud. This enables data to be brought under the purview of the same DQM standards and processes. Cloud Migration Challenges, Benefits and Strategies

Get a data collection plan in place

Are you collecting the right data, is it relevant to the purpose? Your data needs to be in line with your needs and this will involve filtering the right data from large volumes and multiple sources. This can be done by specifying data requirements and determining the appropriate methodologies for data collection and management. Clear roles, responsibilities, and effective communication processes should be assigned to people involved in data collection, to prevent confusion and to measure progress.

Data entry and validation processes for data quality

To prevent errors during data entry, it is important to implement strong procedures and validation mechanisms. This can be achieved by employing various techniques such as validation rules, drop-down menus, and data validation checks during the data capture process. For e.g., you can have users pick from a defined list of values or options while filling in data fields rather than entering data manually. For e.g., having users specify dates in DD/MM/YYYY format or specifying states (in addresses) through a dropdown menu having pre-populated abbreviated state names. Improving data quality involves establishing consistent guidelines for data entry and formatting.

Data cleansing and data scrubbing techniques to maintain data quality

Data cleansing and data scrubbing are effective data pre-processing techniques that enhance data quality. Data cleansing involves eliminating irrelevant or erroneous data from a dataset, while data scrubbing focuses on removing inaccurate or invalid values. These techniques aim to improve data accuracy and reliability. Additionally, ensuring the validity of all columns, maintaining consistent value types within each column, and establishing unique identifiers for each row are additional approaches to enhance data quality.

Create a plan for data correction

To maintain data consistency and accuracy, you need to establish rules for data correction. These rules outline the responsibility for data correction and provide guidance on the methods to be employed for resolving data issues. By defining these rules, you can ensure that data is corrected promptly and consistently, promoting data integrity and reliability.

A data -driven workplace helps to enhance data quality

Data quality begins with data awareness in the workplace. Everyone needs to be onboard with regular data quality training and DQM processes. To enhance data quality, it is important to educate employees about its significance and train them in the best practices for handling data. Educating employees on DQM standards and procedures is a key best practice for improving data quality.

Data quality issues need to be prioritized

When dealing with multiple data issues, you need to first concentrate on those that have a significant impact on the business. However, determining which issues should take priority and require immediate attention can be challenging. To address this, conducting a rapid and trustworthy impact analysis is the solution you need. Once prioritized, it becomes crucial to establish clear data ownership so you can assign and escalate issues to the concerned people.

Data security is integral to data quality

Data must have appropriate security measures in place to prevent unauthorized access. Privacy controls and regulations need to be complied with to prevent data breaches and cyberattacks. This requires employing various data security methods while still enabling access to authorized users in your organization.

Establish Data Governance policies to maintain data quality

To ensure accountability, consistency, and compliance with data quality standards, it is necessary to create a data governance framework that clearly defines roles, responsibilities, and processes for managing data. Failure to address inaccuracies and unprocessed data can lead to problems such as inaccurate reporting, operational failures, and resource wastage. Appointing a Data Steward can be very effective in managing DQM initiatives. This person can help in conducting DQM reviews, impart training on DQM procedures and introduce innovative approaches to data quality management.

Data quality needs regular monitoring and audits

Implementing a systematic approach to regularly monitor and audit data quality is needed for maintaining the accuracy, consistency, and relevance of your data over time. Regular data reviews will let you know whether the data quality is adequate and the areas where data quality fixes may be needed. Conducting regular data quality assessments through auditing enables early detection of errors, ensuring their prompt resolution.

Data quality means having access to records of changes in data

Maintaining a record of data changes is crucial for enhancing data quality due to several reasons. Firstly, it enables the accurate tracking of modifications made to the data. Secondly, it facilitates the identification of potential patterns within the data that could be contributing to errors. Lastly, it serves as a historical reference, ensuring the availability of previous versions of the data for potential reversion if needed. BryteFlow Ingest automates time-series data with SCD type2 for data versioning.

Data integration and distribution plan is part of data quality

Creating a well-defined plan for integrating and distributing data across different departments is important to ensure data quality. This step is prone to data quality issues due to potential alterations that can occur during data copying, manual editing, or transferring to different software platforms. By establishing specific plans and policies for this process, you can mitigate these issues and maintain the integrity of data throughout its distribution.

How Bryteflow enhances Data Quality

If you use BryteFlow to replicate or migrate your data to on-premise or Cloud destinations, you will be using a completely no-code data integration tool that automates every process and delivers data using Change Data Capture in real-time (batch processing is also an option). It is a given that the less manual intervention needed, the better the quality of data. BryteFlow automates data extraction, schema creation, table creation, CDC, data mapping, DDL, masking and SCD Type 2. It also provides data conversions out-of-the-box. BryteFlow supports movement of very large data volumes with parallel, multi-threaded loading, smart partitioning and compression. It has an extremely high throughput of 1,000,000 rows in 30 seconds approx. Learn how BryteFlow Works

BryteFlow replicates your data using CDC from transactional sources like  SAPOracleSQL ServerMySQL  and  PostgreSQL  to popular platforms like AWSAzureSQL ServerBigQueryPostgreSQL,   SnowflakeTeradataDatabricks, SingleStore  and Kafka  in real-time, providing ready for consumption data on the destination for analytics and machine learning models.

BryteFlow TruData, Automated Data Reconciliation Tool

What makes BryteFlow a must-have for data quality is BryteFlow TruData, our automated data reconciliation tool. BryteFlow Trudata meshes seamlessly and works in parallel with our data replication tool BryteFlow Ingest (TruData is not available as a standalone). BryteFlow TruData checks data as it is being ingested for missing or incomplete datasets and provides alerts and notifications if it spots an issue. The tool automatically facilitates flexible comparisons and matches datasets between the source and destination. Using intelligent algorithms, BryteFlow TruData reconciles data by comparing row counts and column checksums between the source and destination data, effectively pinpointing errors.
The reconciliation of data is made easy with a user-friendly GUI, and no coding is needed for data validation operations.
When dealing with excessively large tables like those from SAP, BryteFlow TruData offers the convenience of specifying only key columns for reconciliation, leading to faster reconciliation processes. Additionally, BryteFlow TruData intelligently slices large tables into manageable chunks, facilitating the identification and resolution of non-reconciled data discrepancies with ease. Overall BryteFlow TruData ensures peace of mind, keeping data consistently reliable, complete, and trustworthy.

How BryteFlow TruData checks data completeness

  • Performs point-in-time data completeness checks for complete datasets including type-2.
  • Has an easy-to-use interface and dashboard to reconcile data between source and destination.
  • Compares row counts and columns checksum.
  • Slices large tables to improve remediation of non-reconciled data.
  • BryteFlow TruData gives you a 100% data completeness guarantee.
  • Has an intuitive point and click interface and dashboard for reconciling data between source and destination – no coding needed!
  • Key columns can be specified for faster verification and reconciliation.
  • Works at a very granular level to reconcile data so it can be remedied easily.
  • Integrates with BryteFlow Ingest for data reconciliation automatically.

If you would like to experience BryteFlow, get a Free POC or contact us for a Demo