Wednesday, March 17, 2010

What is Production Data?

I received an interesting e-mail recently that made me stop and think a bit... so I thought I'd blog about it. Basically, the e-mail posed the question in the title of this blog entry – “What is production data?”

The e-mail read as follows:

I'm looking for a one paragraph definition of "production data". What do you think of this: "Production data is data recorded for the purpose of controlling/managing/reporting/researching events, processes or states."

I'm trying to get around the belief that data recorded by a development team to manage its projects and resources is somehow less than production data. To me it should be regarded as the development team's "production data" and so I'm looking for a definition that satisfactorily encompasses that belief, as well as encompassing regular business production data.

You know, I do not recall ever seeing an actual definition of the term “production data.” The above definition is a good starting point, but I do not think it is complete. The author of the e-mail makes a good point about different types of production data. The data used by an application development team to conduct their business (writing computer programs to support business processes) is definitely production data… to the application development team.

Here is my take on a definition:

  • Production data is information that is persistently stored and used by professionals to conduct business processes. It must be accurate, documented, and managed on an on-going basis to ensure its value to the organization.

I say information instead of data because the data must be defined and in context in order to be useful for production work. And I say persistent because even though there may be many forms of transitory data used by production processes, it is the data that is stored over periods of time that needs to be managed.

I think this definition should serve the needs of the e-mailer... and more. What do you think?

Did I miss anything?


Unknown said...

please suggest a book for production data analysis

Craig S. Mullins said...

That topic comprises a very large set of possibilities. There are many books on analytics out there that will guide you on how to glean insight from large amounts of data. For example, "Competing on Analytics" by Davenport and Harris (ISBN 978-1-4221-0332-6) or "Data Smart" by Foreman (ISBN 978-1-118-66146-8).

If you are looking for a management guide to business data then perhaps "Managing Your Business Data" by Kushner and Villar (ISBN 978-1-933199-9) or "The Data Asset" by Fisher (ISBN 978-0-470-46226-3) will work for you.

Arun Vishwa said...

Hey Craig,

I am writing my master thesis on "Data quality issues in capacity planning". For this I termed those data points as operational data. Thereby I want to learn more about the background of operational data. Can you suggest me some articles or journals, where I can study about these operational/production data in detail.

Best Regards,

Arun Pravin CV

Craig S. Mullins said...

There are several good books that you can use to guide your study/research into operational data and its usage. A good place to start could be "Managing Your Business Data: From Chaos to Confidence" by Theresa Kushner & Maria Villar (ISBN 978-1-933199-13-9) and "Data Strategy" by Sid Adelman, et al (ISBN 0-321-24099-5).

Also, you should look into books on data quality written by Thomas C. Redman and Larry English, all of which are illuminating.

As far as I know, there is no single book on the topic of Production Data (or Operational Data).

Arun Vishwa said...

Great thanks for the information. Also I have one more doubt regarding my thesis and it would be great if you could clarify that !

I have to define "What is a good quality data" and "the Dimensions/Characteristics that define it". I did some research on this topic and I found out that there are many existing frameworks for defining the Quality of the data. I have planned to choose only one Framework for the research due to time constraints and I find it difficult to choose the framework that suits the manufacturing firms.

- Can i have some insights on How to choose the right framework that serves the purpose in Manufacturing firms.

- Can we have some literature suggestions for the same .

Best regards,

Arun Pravin Chennai Viswanathan

Craig S. Mullins said...

I'm not sure which framework would best support a particular vertical, such as manufacturing. If I were going to attack that problem I would try to find a contact in the IT department at a manufacturing firm and ask about the framework they use and why.