Even dirtier IT jobs: The muck stops here

More dirty tech deeds, done dirt cheap

Data is a harsh mistress. The same name spelled two different ways or slight variations in addresses can wreak havoc with your inventory, screw up your billing, break the supply chain, make customer service a living hell, and cause the suits to make bad decisions. That's why thousands of organizations hire drones to comb through company files looking for inaccuracies, inconsistencies, discrepancies, duplicates, and other data glitches.

"We call it the 'Monk factor,'" says Stefanos Damiankis, CEO of Netrics, a maker of data matching software. "Like the detective in the 'Monk' TV show, every organization has obsessive-compulsive guys who pore over the data and try to make it perfect."

Forget perfect data. Getting the data to where it's usable is hard enough, he says. "The job is dirty because the data is relentless. You're just sitting there looking at the same things over and over. It's mind-numbing, and the tools available to do the job are typically antiquated."

Even if the data is consistent across all fields, organizations still need people to figure out what it really means, says Leonard Dubois, senior vice president of marketing and sales support for Harte-Hankes Trillium Software, maker of data quality solutions.

"In large organizations there are hundreds of people poring over Excel spreadsheets and Word documents trying to determine what the business meaning of a specific term -- like 'customer' -- might be," says Dubois. "And every silo in the organization might have a different definition. If I order a book from Amazon for my wife, who's the customer? To the billing department, it's me. To marketing, it's my wife. To shipping, it's the address where the book got sent."

The data drone has to go in and figure out which definition is the correct one for each group -- an expensive and time-consuming process. Data quality software like Netrics' or Trillium's can automate many of these tasks, detect errors, and reduce guesswork. More often than not, though, you still end up with outliers that have to be handled by humans.

"They call it data cleansing for a reason," Dubois adds. "It's a tedious process to go through data files and figure out the meanings of each term."

Join the newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.
Rocket to Success - Your 10 Tips for Smarter ERP System Selection

Tags engineersdata crisisIT jobsmalware

Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Dan Tynan

InfoWorld
Show Comments

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Ben Ramsden

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

Brainstorming, innovation, problem solving, and negotiation have all become much more productive and valuable if people can easily collaborate in real time with minimal friction.

Sarah Ieroianni

Brother QL-820NWB Professional Label Printer

The print quality also does not disappoint, it’s clear, bold, doesn’t smudge and the text is perfectly sized.

Ratchada Dunn

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

The Huddle Board’s built in program; Sharp Touch Viewing software allows us to easily manipulate and edit our documents (jpegs and PDFs) all at the same time on the dashboard.

George Khoury

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

The biggest perks for me would be that it comes with easy to use and comprehensive programs that make the collaboration process a whole lot more intuitive and organic

David Coyle

Brother PocketJet PJ-773 A4 Portable Thermal Printer

I rate the printer as a 5 out of 5 stars as it has been able to fit seamlessly into my busy and mobile lifestyle.

Kurt Hegetschweiler

Brother PocketJet PJ-773 A4 Portable Thermal Printer

It’s perfect for mobile workers. Just take it out — it’s small enough to sit anywhere — turn it on, load a sheet of paper, and start printing.

Featured Content

Product Launch Showcase

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?