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Dishing on Dirty Data

Updated: May 20


Before starting my consulting business, I worked for a couple of Point of Sale (POS) providers in the industry. This gave me the experience of working with over 100 dispensaries to migrate them from one POS to another. Every company handles the migration process differently but there is one thing that is the same and that is that the transition is going to make the dispensary's data dirty.


When I built the data migration processes at these companies, I implemented processes used in pharmaceuticals to ensure that the data was handled with the highest integrity. Without these processes, there is the risk of data being incorrect, mishandled, or corrupted. I'll expand on this in a future post but right now I want to focus on the data itself, especially if it's gone through multiple POS migrations.


There's a saying in the data world, garbage in, garbage out. What this means is that if you start with dirty data, you will never be able to do anything meaningful with it. To make the best data-driven decisions, it is imperative that inventory data is clean.


Inventory data in your POS will never be perfect, someone will make a mistake on the brand side or on the retail side, mistakes happen. If you aren't continually checking that your data is clean, there are probably gremlins in there waiting to pop up.


When you extract all your data to move it over to another system those gremlins can get uglier and some of them will have corrupted your data making it transfer over incorrectly. Processes in place by POS companies can mitigate these issues but there is no way to ensure that no issues will occur.


In my opinion, data should be cleaned prior to a POS transition and then data should be checked and cleaned again after. Fortunately, we have state traceability systems that should be a source of truth during these transitions but there can be issues there as well. In addition, POS data is much more detailed and can include images, files, and other documents that will need to be added back to a new system after the transition.


If you're a retailer that has gone through multiple POS changes, have you cleaned up your data since the transition? If you haven't and don't know where to start, we can help.


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