Data-Driven Companies Need a Foundation in Data Quality

Published: March 24, 2015 by Tom Schutz

Tom Schutz

Data is one of the most valuable assets in our society and drives many decisions.

For businesses, data can reveal insights about customers and prospects, product trends, areas for investment and efficiency improvements. For consumers, data provides more personalized interactions with brands, including targeted deals or coupons, and geo-location services.

Because of these benefits, business leaders are increasingly reliant on first and third party information when it comes to decision making and operational execution.

According to a recent Experian Data Quality study, 95 percent of global companies feel the drive to turn data into insight. The four main reasons behind this include the desire to: understand customer needs, find new customers, increase the value of each customer, and secure future budgets.

However, many businesses are falling short. They aren’t able to get the insight needed from data assets. While there are many challenges around data, like rapidly-changing technology, skills shortages in data management and shifting regulations, business leaders can control data quality strategy.

Many are not able to gain insight because the quality of their data is not up to par. Ninety-two percent of organizations suspect their customer and prospect data might be inaccurate in some way and on average, businesses believe 26 percent of their data is inaccurate. That figure has risen significantly over the past several years.

While there are many possible reasons for this increase, one major contributing factor is that data management strategies have not kept pace with the changing needs of business intelligence and analytics. Many organizations still manage data using legacy technology and processes. This creates reactive strategies that stop data issues from being discovered before they cause harm and prevent a single customer view.

To move into a modernized and proactive strategy, businesses need to adjust their data management strategy from a departmentalized approach to a central data owner. We see many companies finding success by doing so.

In fact, more companies who have enjoyed significant profits in the last 12 months manage their data quality strategy centrally, with ownership resting with a single director. We also see companies who have more sophisticated data management approaches dealing with less inaccurate data and fewer negative consequences.

Most commonly, that director tends to be the CDO or CIO. There is certainly a case for adding a CDO to the organization, especially considering the value of data and the benefit of having someone to take responsibility for the quality, standards, meaning, security, metrics, integration or coordination of data among the various divisions.

The rise of the CDO is something we are watching very closely at Experian and we expect this role to grow rapidly in prominence over the next few years.

Building a foundation in data quality by centralizing data management people, technology and processes under one group is a key step in creating actionable insight from the valuable asset of data. To stay competitive, businesses have to operate in intelligent ways by developing strong consumer understanding. That starts with quality data.

We at Experian enable business users to obtain quality, actionable data when it is required. This doesn’t mean implementing massive technology solutions that take months or years to see benefit from. We focus on solving specific problems with targeted technology solutions, helping you focus on counting the data that really matters to your business.

To become data-driven, start by thinking about where you’re currently getting your data insights. Do you trust your information? Does it produce reliable information and insight?

By starting with a strong data management strategy, organizations can build trust in their data and see the true benefit of data having a positive influence on their business.

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