The Data Buffet

May 30, 2018


Glen Schreitmueller

Data of all stripes are turning into quite a tasty buffet in FinTech as a bevy of solutions that are more “TECH” than “FIN” arrive on our plates to consider.  As we complete the spring conference season, we see once low-level operational data quality discussions move to the spotlight as new applications, big data initiatives and integrations require reliable data to perform their stated missions.

Basic source reconciliation is not enough; firms now need to understand data’s true pedigree.  It reminds me of the inquisition from Portlandia’s spoof “Is the Chicken Local?” Solid data governance policies make trust in organizational reporting and applications investments possible.   Without it, the best applications are simply serving spoiled milk from a crystal pitcher.   Clarity of lineage, sourcing, meta-data enrichment, frequency, versioning, validations, and reconciliation processes can help users understand whether their data is safe for consumption or poisonous in their context.  Firms casually refer to mythical golden sources, but what are they?  The Portlandia short provides a great starting point.  Ask questions and think local.  Reaching to the source of the data, in essence, addresses the, “Is it Local?” question head-on.  With good visibility into data governance, users can choose the right data for their purposes.  By understanding the limitations and trade-offs in the data’s overall providence and their intended use cases, users can determine whether they need to be “100% organic”, or “conventionally-farmed” data for their purposes and costs benefit.  Bon appetit.