What Sherlock Holmes Teaches Us About Data Quality

What Sherlock Holmes Teaches Us About Data Quality  “Data! Data! Data! I can’t make bricks without clay.” Sir Arthur Conan Doyle understood the importance of logic when it comes to solving a mystery. In The Adventure of the Copper Beeches, his character, Sherlock Holmes, becomes frustrated at a lack of detail that makes his decision-making process impossible. In effect, Holmes requires concrete facts to solve the mystery presented by Miss Hunter’s job offer from Mr Rucastle. Holmes’ exclamation is one of the best-known lines that Conan Doyle ever wrote, and that may be because of its wide-ranging appeal. In the modern world, the need for accuracy is as relevant as it was in the author’s era. Businesses must locate good quality information to make effective decisions, and for precisely the same reasons as Sherlock Holmes. Detecting Data Quality Problems In order to move a business forward, its management team must analyse its current position (financial, strategic etc), and use that analysis as the basis of a plan. Accurate, timely data forms the basis of many critical decisions. When […]

Bad Data? Bad CRM – Bad Decisions

Bad Data? Bad CRM – Bad Decisions Data quality is not just about good intentions. It’s about constant effort – and a helping hand from your data quality software. In this article, we’ll look at a tale of three companies. Let’s call them NoDQ, LowDQ and HighDQ.   The Story NoDQ had no data quality policy in place. Its database was riddled with errors, and many customers were recorded more than once. Some data was muddled; some was incomplete. NoDQ customers would call and ask that their data was recorded, but telephone handlers made mistakes. The company’s sales department blamed the telephone handlers and made no effort to contact the leads, resulting in lower income and wasted opportunities. Morale was low; profits were lower still. LowDQ, the second company, recognised that data quality is a pressing issue in business. It had a policy in place that helped staff to recognise poor quality data, and the business was actively involved in a drive to prevent the creation of duplicate […]

How Good Data Quality Boosts the IT Department

How Good Data Quality Boosts the IT Department On the DQ Global blog, we often say that data quality isn’t just an IT problem. However, the IT department does play a role in data upkeep. It’s the department responsible for storing and retrieving data, backing it up and making it available, and that gives it its unique position as the data gatekeeper. As the gatekeeper, the IT department is inherently affected by data quality. While marketers will feel the impact of poor quality addresses, the IT department is more likely to see an increase in call volumes when the problem reaches crisis point. In the business, IT’s role is therefore quite unique. When data quality falls, the IT department will always be the department that is expected to do something about it. IT therefore has a vested interest in data quality. Measuring the Impact If the business has a sales department, a marketing department and a finance department, we generally hope that those […]
By |April 9th, 2014|Blog, Data, Data Cleansing, Data Quality|Comments Off

It’s Time to Spring Clean Your Business Data

It’s Time to Spring Clean Your Business Data The sun is shining, the rainwater is finally drying up and it’s time to think about a fresh start for spring. For business, this means taking steps to tackle poor quality data so that you can make 2014 truly successful. In this article, we’ll look at some small steps you can make towards cleaner data, and some good reasons to prioritise data quality challenges.The sun is shining, the rainwater is finally drying up and it’s time to think about a fresh start for spring. For business, this means taking steps to tackle poor quality data so that you can make 2014 truly successful. What to Do With Dirty Data In our blog, we often speak about poor quality data. We try to emphasise the importance of keeping on top of the problem. The longer you leave data without maintenance, the worse state it will be in when you come to tackle it. When conducting this annual spring clean, pay attention to the following aspects of your business data: Check the process you use to collect customer information. Where are mistakes being […]

Why CEOs Must Care About Data Quality

Why CEOs Must Care About Data Quality A good CEO takes good care of business assets to ensure the longevity of the business. Data should be no different. After all, it’s an asset like all of the others. Some CEOs are picking up on this sooner than others. For many, the quality of information simply isn’t a priority to them (perhaps because bad quality data has not yet had a tangible impact on the business). But neglecting information critical to the business is clearly a mistake. Data quality is always vital to profitability, and it always needs attention in order to be of a reasonable quality. In this blog, we’ll examine the potential impact of bad data in more detail. Data Quality: How it Declines There are two main threats to data quality, and these are the two areas where CEOs must intervene. Good quality data always goes bad over time. Even the most pristine database will eventually become less and less useful to the business. The CEO must realise that his or her staff cannot function without data that […]
By |March 26th, 2014|Blog, Data Quality|Comments Off

Don’t Be Daunted By Data Quality

Don’t Be Daunted By Data Quality If you haven’t got around to dealing with your data quality challenges, fear not. You’re not alone. Businesses of all sizes are slowly facing up to the fact that data decay is inevitable, and data quality software is an essential tool for any successful business. Many small businesses are learning from the mistakes made by larger businesses and public sector organisations, and many of those mistakes have been reported in the press for all to see. In one way, this is useful, because it’s a sign of things to come. Data is so vital in modern life that poor data quality can be catastrophic for millions of people, and the sooner we realise, the sooner we can face the challenge head on. Bigger Data Problems In February 2013, MPs told the Ministry of Defence that it was at risk of squandering a £1 billion investment in IT because of dire data quality. We see this time and again; large […]
By |March 19th, 2014|Blog, Data Quality|Comments Off

Why Data Quality Is a Marketing Problem

Why Data Quality Is a Marketing Problem What is the greatest asset the marketing department could wish for, apart from a generous budget? It’s undoubtedly good quality data about the people it is marketing to. In most businesses, the marketing department owns the data about existing customers, although the scope of the data may vary massively from business to business. While other assets are important to marketers, customer data is simply essential. Without this information, marketers are operating blind and cannot be expected to achieve their objectives. In this article, we’ll look at data quality in relation to the marketing department: what it means to marketers, why marketing is changing and how marketers can rid themselves of decaying, useless databases that have seen better days. In 2014 Marketing is Still Evolving Technical marketing is a relatively new buzzphrase. It describes a new role in the marketing department, where technical skill (analytics, code, optimisation) is an essential string in the modern marketer’s bow. This is similar to web design, where the graphic designer must also now understand content, usability and code. As […]
By |March 11th, 2014|Blog, Data Management, Data Quality|Comments Off

Customer Relationships Start With Quality Data

Customer Relationships Start With Quality Data   Customer relationship management (CRM) is all about understanding customers and recording data that helps you in that task. If you don’t appreciate the individual customer, you cannot communicate with them effectively. If you don’t know what makes them tick, you cannot know what they need and desire. And without that knowledge of their needs and wants, your business cannot profit. In modern business, customer relationship management is at the heart of all business functions. It dictates critical business decisions that could make or break its future. And customer relationship management cannot be effective without quality data. Approaching Data Quality At DQ Global®, we have many years’ experience in improving data quality and advising our customers on doing the same. In almost every case, it is far better to tackle the root cause of inaccurate data, rather than firefighting when things go wrong. The lifecycle of your CRM system begins at the data capture stage, and there are three key aspects to improving the quality of information recorded. Ask yourself, […]
By |March 4th, 2014|Blog, Data Quality|Comments Off

How to Attack Your Data Defects

 How to Attack Your Data Defects - To facilitate a successful data quality initiative, you will need to attack the causes of poor quality data head-on. Inevitably this will involve the use of data quality software, but you will achieve greater success by formulating your strategy in such a way that you attack all of the defects polluting your database.   Here’s a 6-step guide to completing a successful assault on poor quality data: 1. Identify and Resolve The first step is to scan your system for account and/or contact errors. The more mistakes you have in your database, the harder your team has to work, and the more waste is generated. Once data defects have been identified, they can be corrected using data quality software. Deduplication software will identify records that can be merged together to eliminate waste; addresses will be checked for exact matches, phonetic matches and so on (matched), then combined (merged) to form a single, accurate record. 2. Change Your Processes For Data Capture Once your data is clean, it’s time to look at the […]
By |February 25th, 2014|Blog, Data|Comments Off

Head in the Sand About the State of Your Data?

Head in the Sand About the State of Your Data?   How much attention are you paying to data in your organisation? Chances are, if you don’t have an active data quality project, your data is losing integrity as you read this article. In addition, data may be recorded using inadequate software, rarely updated, and never scanned using data deduplication software. The result is clearly going to be undesirable. However, businesses ignore poor quality data at their peril. Often, a business leader ignores data quality issues until the damage has been done, and that usually means a large-scale operation is necessary to reverse the damage. Wouldn’t it be better if the problem were dealt with at source? Poor data quality is a very real problem, even if it’s not a problem that’s prioritized at the moment. It can take many forms. If your customer database is showing its age, your staff will know about it. They will already have developed workarounds to deal with data deficiencies. Some of those workarounds will […]
By |February 18th, 2014|Blog, Data|Comments Off