Breaking Bad Data

Time to clean up your act

It’s time to own up. You have a problem with your data and you know it.

Don’t worry though because nearly half of organisations globally say that a lack of trust in their data is putting them at risk of non compliance and the resultant penalties. So, what can you do to make things better?

Quality data is the main driver for most organisations needing to improve customer services, increase sales and deliver valuable insight for future opportunities and improvements. It is often the sheer volume of data and the silos in which it’s held that lead to inaccuracies and poor decision making. What’s needed is an efficient data management strategy that will help you sift the wheat from the chaff.

Start by giving your data a really deep clean. This can be done manually or by automated processes. The plan is to try and ensure that it’s accurate, complete, relevant, consistent and accessible. It’s a lot of work, but it’s worth starting how you mean to go on.

And talking of moving on, every new bit of data added must be pre-cleansed so as not to contaminate any of the good work done before. Any gaps and inaccuracies in the data being entered must be filled and corrected at this stage. This is also the time to pick up duplicates, be they accidental or fraudulent, by looking for ‘matches’ in the system.

So you’ve cleaned up your existing data and you’re making sure any new data that’s entered is as correct as it can be. Does that mean you can now be more confident and trusting of what you have? Well yes, up to a point.

Part of your plan should be an ongoing maintenance program. Some of your data might be past it’s ‘sell-by date’ for whatever reason, maybe a change of address or employment for example. This either needs to be refreshed or junked (if appropriate) as stale data takes up valuable storage and can lead to confusion.

By breaking your bad data habits, you will not only gain confidence in the intelligence your organisation holds, you will be able to make better informed decisions and boost growth and customer satisfaction. So that everyone is better off.