What is Data Profiling? Definition, Types, and Roles

Louise Principe
Jun 30, 2023

In the era of big data, collecting high-quality data is crucial to making actionable decisions that drive business growth. However, ensuring the accuracy, completeness, consistency, and accessibility of data can be a daunting task without properly evaluating your findings – this is where data profiling comes into play.

In this blog article, we will discuss the concept of data profiling, its types, and how it can help you gather data that matters.

What is Data Profiling?

Data profiling consists of reviewing, analyzing, and summarizing source data to understand how it is structured and to determine data quality. In this process, factors such as data accuracy (correctness of data), completeness (presence of all required data elements), consistency (uniformity of data across sources), timeliness (up-to-date data), and accessibility (ease of access and usability) are assessed to define the characteristics of your findings.

Types of Data Profiling

1. Structure Discovery

Structure discovery focuses on the formatting of the data. It examines the data's structure, types, and formats to ensure uniformity and consistency. By using basic statistical analysis, it provides information about the validity and correctness of the data structure.

2. Content Discovery

Content discovery assesses the quality of individual data elements. It identifies ambiguous, incomplete, or null values within the data. By evaluating the content of the data, organizations can ensure data accuracy and completeness, leading to more reliable and credible insights

3. Relationship Discovery

Relationship discovery aims to detect connections, similarities, differences, and associations among data sources. It helps organizations understand how different data sets relate to each other, giving them a comprehensive view of their data landscape.

The Role of Data Profiling

Evaluating Data Quality

Examining various data attributes helps you pinpoint data quality issues, such as missing values, outliers, or inconsistencies. This enables organizations to understand the strengths and weaknesses of their data and make informed decisions based on reliable information.

Identifying Potential Data Projects

Data profiling helps organizations uncover potential data projects by identifying patterns, dependencies, and relationships within the data. This allows organizations to discover valuable insights and opportunities for further exploration and analysis.

Data Profiling as a Precursor

Data profiling acts as a precursor to data processing and analytics by ensuring the quality and suitability of the data. By addressing data quality issues upfront, businesses can streamline data processing and maximize the effectiveness of data analysis.


Data profiling is a critical component of effective data management and analysis. By examining, analyzing, and summarizing data sets, organizations can ensure data quality, uncover hidden insights, and make informed decisions. By embracing data profiling, organizations can unlock the full potential of their findings and gain a competitive advantage in today's data-driven landscape.

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