Discovering the Value of Your Data: An Interview with Shauna Ayers and Catherine Cruz Agosto

[interview]
Summary:
In this interview, two STAREAST speakers explain how organizations are discovering the value in their data. Catherine Cruz Agosto and Shauna Ayers define data profiling and its importance, delve into different strategies you can use, and discuss how to get the most out of your data.

Jennifer Bonine: All right. We are back with more virtual interviews at the conference. I am so excited I have Catherine and Shauna with me. Thanks for joining me.

Shauna Ayers: Thank you.

Catherine Cruz Agosto: Glad to be here.

Jennifer Bonine: Ladies, and a really interesting subject that we want to talk about with these guys will be around data profiling and data quality, which I know lots of people are wondering about and asking about; but before we get into kind of the crux of the topic, why don't you tell us, Catherine, a little bit about your background and the organization you work for?

Catherine Cruz Agosto: Okay. As far as my background, I have a bachelor's in software engineering from Embry-Riddle, and I recently got a master's from Penn State in systems engineering. I work at Availity with Shauna, where both of us are data quality assurance analysts. We get into the data. Data's pretty much our lives.

Jennifer Bonine: Data's your thing.

Catherine Cruz Agosto: Yes.

Jennifer Bonine: Shauna, how about you, your background?

Shauna Ayers: I have an unusual background. I came to tech from a humanities side. My degree's actually in English, but I immersed myself in data, particularly humanities' approach to data. The fact that there's a lot of art to the science, and the stories behind it. I've worked at Fortune 500 companies, Johnson & Johnson's. I've worked at small shops, mom and pop, and the wide variety, and you always learned something new. The passion for detail and uncovering the puzzle is one of the biggest drives. Once you get into the data of a company, that's the lifeblood. Everything ...

Jennifer Bonine: Data tells a story.

Shauna Ayers: Oh, yeah. Everything that goes on in a company, there are stories in the data the data will tell. You may be able to mark up the presentation of data, but the truth will always exist in there, and you can see so much, and you learn about every aspect of the business when you're dealing with the data of it.

Jennifer Bonine: Yeah. That's-

Catherine Cruz Agosto: That's why data profiling's so important, too, because it gives you a different perspective of the data, and you may uncover things that may not have been obvious.

Jennifer Bonine: For people out there that aren't familiar with the concept, we all know you need data and testing, you need good test data. You need to make sure the data has integrity, that it's quality data that you're utilizing, but ... For those that maybe aren't familiar with the concept of data profiling, because you mentioned that, can you guys just talk a little bit or expand a little bit on what date of profiling is? For those that maybe haven't gotten into that or been around that concept.

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