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Will 2016 be the Year you Clean up your Dirty Data?

2023096For ever it seems, we’ve been warning about the dangers of low quality data. Our warnings have been reinforced and echoed by some of the world’s biggest think tanks. However, despite this, some organisations still haven’t acted to improve the quality of their data.  And we’re wondering why?

Over the last 12 months, we’ve blogged about business automation , and about cutting the waste that’s destroying your ROI. We’ve reminded you that your data is vulnerable to decay, and we correctly predicted that Google Now would become a bigger presence in our lives.

Despite our best efforts though:

  • 78% of companies have trouble getting emails delivered
  • 83% of companies are struggling with silos of data
  • 81% of retailers cannot leverage loyalty programs due to inaccurate data
  • 87% of financial institutions have difficulty obtaining reliable intelligence
  • 63% of companies still don’t have a coherent approach to data quality

These Experian data quality statistics prove that businesses are failing to take action. Their data quality challenges are growing, despite the fact that data quality software is getting better all the time.

Will 2016 be the year that the message finally gets through, or will we be singing from the same carol book this time next year?

What might you achieve in 2016?

The benefits of better data management are vast, and they benefit everyone who comes into contact with that data. For a profit-making business, or an efficiency-driven private sector organisation, we can divide the benefits into three distinct categories: Efficiency, Innovation and Experience.

  • There are benefits for the organisation in terms of better efficiency, which drives profit and reduces waste. Smart businesses are digitally transforming their processes, they are improving efficiency and automating certain tasks. They’re enhancing their data by joining it with intelligence from third party sources, and they’re improving the usability of data by integrating separate systems and channels. For the public sector, there are massive cost savings in applying the same principles to the services they provide.
  • In turn, business innovations help to give employees the tools they need to do their jobs. Once you’ve digitally transformed a process, it will require less manual effort, and will usually be less reliant on problematic legacy IT systems. Your employees expect to be able to use cloud services, agile working practices and a reliable CRM, all of which hinge on having high data quality to work from. If you don’t implement better data management, staff will eventually circumvent your security policies and ‘go it alone’.
  • Better data management results in a better experience for customers, or service users. The improvements to the organisation, and its employees, have a positive knock-on effect for the people they’re serving. Public sector service users benefit from an experience that exceeds their expectations, with queries being answered more quickly and service levels being far improved. Paying customers will be more loyal, more trusting, and more inclined to spend.

Laying the foundations for 2016

Have you decided to get to grips with data quality in 2016?  Whether you’re planning cloud migration, digital transformation, or simply want to improve your bottom line, you can start putting the basics in place as soon as the Christmas tree is packed away.

Consider adding a Chief Data Officer to the organisation to act as a data quality ambassador. Why? Data is going to have to be valid and reliable all the time if customers are going to receive the quality of service they are looking for. This means that there has to be constant focus on data quality, rather than conducting occasional data quality reviews, and you need someone who can drive change in your processes and culture.

Additionally, look at the way the world around you is changing. A couple of years ago, tablet computers were on everyone’s Christmas list. This year, it’s wearable technology and products to automate the home. Data is already shifting towards centre stage position, and this should provide all the inspiration you need to modernise your business accordingly.

Finally, imagine a world where your organisation was more streamlined and agile. Imagine the cost savings of automation and efficiency. Think about how much your staff could do if they didn’t have to duplicate their work. Consider how much more accurate your reports would be if you had access to reliable data, and how much money you’re currently gambling on data that doesn’t make sense.

By 2016, the amount of money spent on digital marketing will consume 35% of total marketing budgets. Experian says we’re already wasting £197 million because of bad data. How much more can you afford to waste? If you continue wasting money at the current rate, how long will it take for a more agile competitor to overtake you?

Turn over a new leaf in 2016 with better data

Data is the one constant in every business. It flows through every process and helps us make sense of what we do. We owe it to our staff, our users and our customers to manage data properly and improve its accuracy. The New Year presents a great time to change the way we’re managing data.

Data quality software is no longer a niche purchase, , or something that can be pushed back into next year’s budget. It’s now an essential component in the workings of an efficient business. Not only that, but data quality is married to automation and integration, and your business needs both if it’s to survive.

From marketing to business intelligence, data quality is becoming a prime concern. Forrester predicts that 2016 will bring more personalisation, better customer experience, more ‘digitally savvy’ leaders and a requirement to make digital a “core driver of business transformation”. Will your organisation be one of the few that puts data quality at the heart of its strategy?

The original blog can be seen here.

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