Now is not the time to be scrimping on DQM...
14 Aug 2012: While an instinctive inclination to cut costs in tough economic times is understable, doing so by scrimping on data quality management is a completely false economy, argues Graham Rhind as he presents a summary of the brand new third biannual Capscan data quality survey which he authored.
Organisations should not be scrimping on data quality management (DQM) during these economically tough times. Yet Capscan’s third biannual data quality survey (conducted in May 2012, with the results to be published in a white paper shortly) shows a distinct stagnation in the trend towards improved data quality.
The results give a clear impression that continuing tough trading conditions are causing organisations to become more inward looking, and little improvement can be discerned from the 2010 results.
Respondents increasingly understand the importance that good quality data has for the health of their company, and also to a greater extent that it is an issue which deserves the attention of higher management.
Despite this, the penetration of data quality management amongst all organisations as a strategic agenda is not high – only 40.9% had an enterprise-wide data quality management strategy in place, a figure hardly changed since 2010.
Casting the net wider
Organisations are collecting more varied information and using a wider range of it in their business intelligence, marketing and sales, and respondents have a higher opinion of the quality of their data than they did two years ago. Yet validation rates remain stagnant.
Though postal volumes are declining, and the use of addresses outside of product delivery is becoming less important, names and addresses remain an essential component of any data profile.
It is one of the more stable pieces of information one acquires about a customer, it shows their location (an increasingly important piece of information for most marketing and sales activities) and it continues to be needed for most database processes – identification, linking, merging, de-duplication and so on.
Whilst the name and address remain essential information, an increasing breadth of richer information is being acquired and used by organisations as part of their marketing and sales mix: other locational indicators such as latitude and longitude, social media interaction, electronic contact information and so on. And these all need to be collected, stored and managed with the same data quality principles in mind as are currently widely applied to name and address data.
As e-commerce booms, especially those with automated 24/7 systems covering the whole globe, this becomes a more important part of quality requirements. Yet validation rates for most data being collected showed stagnation across the board.
Many organisations still face huge challenges in terms of managing their data. Practical operational problems such as keeping data up-to-date and accurate and making sure it is secure and well managed remain the primary concerns for these businesses, and data decay and the poor quality of data from outside an organisation is still a headache for most respondents.
Understand the benefits
Many organisations do not truly understand the benefits of data quality management and its ability to help them to achieve better customer relations, a single customer view and better strategic marketing. For most organisations, DQM is about operational improvement rather than strategic development, with few realising that data quality can have a significant impact on customer satisfaction or brand image. The gap between the organisations stating that they have a data quality management strategy and them realising it is still very wide. n
Graham Rhind runs GRC Data Intelligence, an independent consultance specialising in international data knowledge.
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