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DQ Blog CRM Data Cleansing How Good Data Quality Boosts the IT Department

How Good Data Quality Boosts the IT Department

Martin Doyle April 9th, 2014 CRM Data Cleansing, Data Governance, Data Quality
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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 departments will be working from the same consistent dataset – ‘singing from the same hymn sheet’.

If they are not, we can instantly predict where the problems will arise. Inconsistencies, confusion, customer dissatisfaction are all part of the poor data cycle; there are many more that we can specifically name:

  • Data is lost or duplicated randomly and there are difficulties enforcing policies.
  • Users do not adhere to conventions around storage, file naming or sharing of data, partly because they see no tangible benefit.
  • Data takes up more space on storage devices, thus increasing the cost of hardware and backup unnecessarily.
  • Old systems become ingrained in the company psyche, and legacy systems are very good at creating corrupt datasets and isolated information that cannot be managed easily.
  • Documentation is difficult to maintain because of huge inconsistencies in systems, processes, workflows and data. As separate systems evolve, documentation cannot be controlled.
  • Developers find it difficult to integrate one system with another because there are so many different protocols and standards in use.
  • Client facing staff become frustrated and demoralised by waste, admin and duplication of work.

While data quality is everyone’s responsibility, the business will look to the facilitators – the IT department – as the people who can do something about it.

The Cost

According to industry figures, 42% of customer relationship management (CRM) system implementations fail because the data isn’t up to scratch. When you consider how many businesses are rolling out CRM software, that is a phenomenal failure rate.

In a survey, more than 600 CEOs and IT directors were asked if a business will see a decrease in revenue and efficiency due to data quality problems. The consensus was yes.

Yet many businesses do not realise they have a serious data quality problem until something goes wrong. Normally this means the business loses money. At that point, the IT department will be expected to take action.

The Difference Good Quality Data Makes

Businesses cannot survive without some degree of automation. It’s usually sensible to mesh systems together where possible, cutting down on repetitive tasks and helping different computer systems to ‘talk’ to each other.

This principle is true in the company network as it is in the world of cloud computing. In both cases, integration is essential to make various services talk to each other, and this is the only way businesses can get things done.

Integration sounds like a great idea; a brilliant way to cut down on administration and waste. But the biggest benefit of the integration is also its biggest drawback: nothing is isolated. Once a data quality problem appears in one database, it spreads throughout all others like a virus. And the more we all work towards automation and integration, the more frequently these data viruses start to appear.

With healthy data, businesses are free to realise the potential of integration. Systems talk to each other as they should, with fewer bottlenecks and less corruption of records from system to system.

Specific Benefits to IT

When data is pure, service desk staff will experience fewer duplicate calls. They will be asked to formulate fewer workarounds. Tickets are closed more quickly and the service desk meets its KPIs.

Customers feel cared for, valued and respected; whoever they call, that person can access all of the relevant information about them.

For the staff in IT, there’s a sea change in the way the business sees them. IT suddenly becomes the source of pure data, accurate reports and speedy development. The business knows that IT can supply good quality data for accurate decision making and strategizing, and realises that it plays a key role in the business’ overall data quality strategy.

How IT Can Act

DQ Global has developed a range of data quality software solutions that benefit the business. Perhaps the key product for IT is DQ Studio, a package that allows the development of complex custom workflows. DQ Studio includes connectors for many popular office database and software tools and is a data quality powerhouse for developers.

CRM data quality is also critical in business. DQ Global has developed data quality solutions that plug directly into CRM systems, such as DQ for Dynamics™. Non-technical users can cleanse and deduplicate from a simple drag-and-drop interface, and the DQ Global CRM tools integrate directly with the tool itself, creating zero additional workload in IT.

DQ Match is a deduplication tool that can be used with a range of databases and CRM systems. It adds powerful data quality tools to the systems your users are already familiar with.

When IT gets involved in improving data quality, the whole business benefits. And the department that benefits most of all is IT. If you’re a system administrator, explore the full range of data quality software today at www.dqglobal.com.

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Written by Martin Doyle

Martin is CEO and founder of DQ Global, a Data Quality Software company based in the UK. With an engineering background, Martin previously ran a CRM Software business. He has gained a wealth of knowledge and experience over the years and has established himself as a Data Quality Improvement Evangelist and an industry expert.