Starting the New Year Off Right With Data Quality

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happy new year 2014

It’s 2014, which means a fresh new year for your organization, and for all the challenges that come with running successful, efficient organizations.  But hopefully you are refreshed and rejuvenated after the holiday season, enjoyed a few cocktails, some laughs, and probably some cold weather, and now you are ready to get started on making 2014 a great business year.  And Realise Data Systems is here to help you get that boost you need to give your organization a competitive edge while ensuring it is working like a fine tuned machine.

The magic phrase of the New Year to go with your new outlook is “data quality.”  That is our phrase of the hour and we have a handy mnemonic to help you take the steps necessary to ensure your data, and therefore your organization’s inner and out workings, work smoothly and effortlessly this year.

Let’s get started by discussing the very topic of data quality.  Let’s go back in the time machine for a second and reiterate what data quality is and what it means.   We refer to Tech Target to give us an understanding of data quality and why it is so important to organizations.

Here is the definition:

Data quality is a perception or an assessment of data’s fitness to serve its purpose in a given context. 

Aspects of data quality include: 

  • Accuracy
  • Completeness
  • Update status
  • Relevance
  • Consistency across data sources
  • Reliability
  • Appropriate presentation
  • Accessibility

Here is why it is important:

Within an organization, acceptable data quality is crucial to operational and transactional processes and to the reliability of business analytics (BA) / business intelligence (BI) reporting. Data quality is affected by the way data is entered, stored and managed. Data quality assurance (DQA) is the process of verifying the reliability and effectiveness of data. 

It’s no new news that data is going to be big this year.  Everyone form Forbes to Time has predicted it, and if 2013 proved anything, the collection of data and the challenges that come with it is only going to grow, exponentially.   According to Information Builders, “data quality will have its day – data quality issues will more than double in prominence and effort.”

So let’s break that down into plain English for you.  Marketers, data scientists, customer service reps, and even the “Internet of Things” can collect and store as much data as physically possible, the world now has the technology and capability to do so.  But that data is no good, a waste of space and time, if it doesn’t relate to your organization, contains errors, can’t be accessed easily, or cannot be deciphered or analyzed.  The problem is organizations suffer from this syndrome on a daily basis.  This is usually because there are no guidelines or rules set up by organizations to help manage their data (that’s called data governance) and monitor the quality of data being collected.  This reduces efficiency and visibility of a company.  So here’s a bit of help on where to start in the New Year:

Develop a data strategy

Announce data changes internally to all employees

Teach business users your data standards and collection practices

Add team members to specifically manage your organizations data (not just general IT guys)

Question current data collection processes

Understand where your data is collected from and where it is stored

Add value to your data with relevant BI tools

Look at the full organizational picture as well as the individual data record and database

Implement an independent auditing tool to track your data

Track not just your data but the way your business users manipulate it as well

You have the power to change the way your organization looks at, treats, and uses data.

Hopefully this mnemonic can be the foundation of a plan your organization puts in place to help you manage your data and thus your results this year.  And you know the letter “I” in the world quality, suggesting that you implement an independent auditing tool?  We can help with that.  Our product Observato tracks and archives your data to help you control errors, bad data and more.

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