Co-Existence of Data Quality and Data Observability 

26 Jun, 2023 •

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Let us first understand what each of  Data Quality and Data Observability really mean: 

Data Quality: Data quality refers to the characteristics and attributes of data that determine its usefulness, reliability, and fitness for specific purposes. It focuses on ensuring that data is accurate, complete, consistent, timely, and relevant. Data quality is assessed based on various dimensions, such as accuracy, completeness, consistency, validity, and reliability. It involves measures and processes to improve the overall quality of data and maintain data integrity throughout its lifecycle. 

Data Observability: Data observability is the practice of monitoring and understanding data pipelines, workflows, and systems to ensure their reliability, performance, and operational efficiency. It emphasizes transparency and visibility into data processes, including data ingestion, transformation, storage, and consumption. Data observability involves monitoring key metrics, generating logs, and using tools and techniques to gain insights into data behavior and characteristics. It aims to provide real-time or near real-time visibility into data systems to detect and resolve issues proactively. 

The key differences between data quality and data observability are as follows: 

  1. Focus: Data quality focuses on the intrinsic characteristics and attributes of data, ensuring its accuracy, completeness, and reliability. Data observability, on the other hand, focuses on monitoring and understanding the operational aspects of data systems to ensure their reliability and performance. 
  2. Purpose: Data quality is concerned with improving the overall quality of data, making it suitable for its intended use and decision-making. Data observability aims to provide real-time insights into data systems to ensure their operational efficiency, detect issues, and facilitate troubleshooting. 
  3. Scope: Data quality is a broader concept that encompasses the overall quality of data across its lifecycle. It includes processes such as data cleansing, data validation, and data governance. Data observability, on the other hand, is more specific to monitoring and understanding the behavior and performance of data systems. 
  4. Timeframe: Data quality is typically assessed and improved on a regular basis, focusing on the long-term integrity of data. Data observability provides real-time or near real-time visibility into data systems, allowing for proactive issue detection and troubleshooting. 

Technology Enablement of Data Quality and Data Observability 

What is important to understand here is that while Data Quality and Data Observability differ in many factors, they need to co-exist to get maximum value from the data. There are tools which are purely Enterprise Data Quality or MDM e.g. Informatica Data quality, Ataccama. On the other hand, there are tools that track data continuously for quality issues and hence focus purely on Data quality from a Data Observability perspective e.g. Montecarlo and Bigeye  

DvSum Agile Data Quality focuses on a  platform that supports co-existence of both Data quality and Data Observability and allows common framework to define data quality for the whole spectrum of data used in the organization. This will help avoid duplication of efforts between different teams like the Data Steward and the Data Engineering teams. 

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