Want cleaner data? Start by asking for the data up-front.

Everybody wants cleaner data but what does it mean to have cleaner data? The best way to have that conversation is with examples of the inputs and the desired outputs.

A lot of people ask for cleaner data without really knowing what they really need. Asking for the data up-front makes the conversation much more productive.

Cleaner data usually means fewer duplicates, and different forms of cleansing and standardization. But these terms require definitions that only the customer can provide.

Sometimes the desired outputs fall far outside of your capabilities and might require a much larger investment. Asking for the data up-front will flush out those requirements early on.

Verbal and written requirements are very helpful as well, but instead of just trying to describe the issues, ask for the data up-front so the issues can also be visualized. It’s one thing to think you know, and it’s another thing to actually know.

Also remember that there are tons of different ways to clean data so check with multiple vendors to get a feel for their expertise and the different approaches.

Author: Ben Cutler


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