Everything you know about data health is wrong

By Stu Garrow

If someone asked you what makes data “healthy”, what would you say? What IS data health? Healthy data just means data that is quality, accessible, trusted, and secure, right? Wrong. 

  • Healthy data is data that provides business value. 
  • Data health depends on how well an organization's data supports its business objectives. 
  • Your data is unhealthy if it does not provide business value. 

Let's dissect. Data health really has nothing to do with the data itself, if you think about it. It has everything to do with the state of your organization as a whole - whether you’re a university, a government entity, or a commercial business - and how well your data supports your current and long-term business objectives.  

It’s so easy to think data quality = data health. Think instead: what is the biggest problem we have in the world of data today?   

It’s not moving data, connecting to data sources, or moving from on-premise to the cloud. It’s not even data quality, integration, or management! In today’s world with SO many solutions to choose from, we have access to more tools than ever that let us connect, store, and move our data. 

You probably already spend an awful lot of time and money getting your data loaded, managed, movable, and usable. But the question remains: are you getting any REAL value out of that data you spend so much time and money on?   

The biggest problem businesses face is not getting value from their data 

According to our 2021 Data Health survey, 64% of executives surveyed work with data every day while 44% of finance executives make the majority of their decisions without data. If you're in the majority, you're already a step ahead - but just working with data isn't enough. It has to be about delivering an outcome.

Given, that outcome can look different depending on who you talk to in your organization.

Data health can mean different things to different roles 

If you speak to the CEO vs the CMO vs the VP of Sales vs the Head of Compliance or IT, data health is going to mean something different to each of them. This is because every one of these business leaders has a different data health problem – but there's a common thread. 

They're all not achieving their objectives because their data isn't enabling them to. To create a data health strategy with real business value, you have to start from the bottom: what are you trying to achieve?   

What’s your most important business objective?  

The world of managing data alone does not deliver value. Focusing on value first: what are you trying to do? Often, companies have business objectives such as creating an intuitive marketing strategy, improving sales, or meeting regulatory compliance.  

Once you outline your objectives, recognizing that they may be different objectives depending on role, now you can move to: 

What data supports that objective? 

Say you have a massive amount of data in a CRM, with intent data coming from multiple different systems. You want to bring that marketing data together to find your target audiences and tap into their needs, right?  

Or maybe your marketing efforts for intent data are inefficient because your data is siloed and not being used to deliver the insights you want, as fast as you want them. 

Consider what data you would need to achieve your business objectives, and then finally: 

What’s stopping you from achieving that today? 

You understand your goals, you know what you need to get there, you are relying on your data to deliver business outcome to be healthy – but that’s not enough. You need the platform and the technology to be able to do it.  

You need a platform that combines the concepts of data quality, trust, and accessibility, that can also get you focused on achieving business initiatives – not just managing and moving around your data. In a data-driven world with endless options, you need a solution entirely focused making your business outcomes a reality with (truly) healthy data.

Start doing more with your data today - here’s how.