Akerna / LeafData / LCB Sales Data Discrepancies

Why are my sales numbers in System-X not the same as in our Track-and-Trace software? This question continues to pop up for our clients and I'm sure others.

The short answer is that the source data used for these reports is not good. It's known to be inaccurate. The authors of this data have confirmed that it's not accurate, on multiple occasions.

The numbers are bad, because the data is bad.

LCB Data

In Washington State all licensees report their B2B number to the LCB through a system called LeafData. LeafData has had many, many troubles with their technology platform. As of this writing the system is still known to be broken and the LCB and LeafData are not making any more fixes.

Many of the licensees use third-party software to report these values to LeafData. In some cases the data submitted to LeafData by these systems may be incorrect (see below). It is also the case that repairing data in the system for these third-party softwares is sometimes blocked by LeafData. Still other times, properly repairing the data in LeafData would require coordination between both licenees and each licensees unique software provider.

This known to be broken system is then used to generate some Excel documents that the LCB publishes. These documents are published with known to be incorrect data, a statement included in this data by the LCB reads:

The LCB is aware there may be inaccuracies with the data and the data may not be complete

502Data and Top Shelf

These two sites, among others, collect this data presented by the LCB and then aggrigate, sort and rank licensees. However, their data-source is of low quality. It becomes a garbage-in, garbage-out type of problem.

Here is a prime example. This business has 36+ months of revenue data on file, with a pretty steady growth pattern, under $500,000 per month. Then suddenly, two spikes of $37 million and $40 million. Extreme outliers.

This is just one extreme example, and there are others that show this "huge spike" pattern.

A Downstream Problem

Once this questionable data is published and propagated it somehow becomes more "true". This becomes a problem for licenees.

We've recevied more than one report where others with a financial interest (eg: banks & credit-unions, business partners, life-partners) in a licensee have used this low-quality data to assert scenarios that are simply not true. For example:

Each of these scenairos this low-quality, known-to-be-bad data is being used as a lever of factual evidence.

Summary

In short: Incorrect could be making it into LeafData and is difficult to repair. LeafData itself is known to be having issues. This source data is used to generate data-sets that are propagated by others. Somehow this known-to-be-questionable data is seen as truth by other outside participants. Which circles around to become a problem for the licensees.

If Washington had better systems in place many of these issues would simply disappear and everyone could save a little time and money.