90% of your data is never touched a second time

90% of your data is never touched a second time

I heard recently on a podcast that 95% of all the art New York's Metropolitan Museum of Art collects is never actually displayed in the museum. It's stored in a warehouse in New Jersey!

Which got me to thinking; how much of the data that we collect do we actually use? I would estimate that 90% of the data we collect never gets used more than once.

Think about it: most of the data we collect on a day to day basis is transactional. We track when Wes joined, when he renewed, when he attended a conference, which sessions he attended, and so on. The vast majority of transactional data is used for the transaction itself and then never touched again.

So what does this mean for data management? I think there are several significant implications:

  1. We need very clear and specific processes for collecting transactional data, so that the data is collected consistently and uniformly throughout the organization.
  2. We need clear data governance for identifying and managing the data that we will use again (beyond the transaction).
  3. We need clear policies in place for regularly cleaning/purging the database so that we're not continuing to store data that is no longer used.

I've written many times before that, because of technology, data is easy to collect and cheap to store. Data accretes. But managing data has a cost, even if that data is not being actively used. (Think of the costs involved for storing all that art no one ever sees!)

So be sure you have policies in place to regularly review the data you're managing.

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