Garbage In, Garbage Out

Data Quality Key Concern for Business

Data is driving business more than it ever has in the past, however it seems that many organizations still distrust the data they are relying on.

Experian Data Quality‘s annual Global data management benchmark report demonstrates that, while data supports major business initiatives, the quality and accuracy of that data is lower than expected or required. When business do not have data they can trust, then they are unable to make business decisions with confidence.

Businesses leverage data constantly to increase revenue and provide a better service to their customers. This report shows that 84 percent of US organizations believe that data is an integral part of their business strategy planning.

However, these same organizations lack confidence in the data they are using. On average, businesses believe 27 percent of their data is inaccurate, when you ask the C-suite, the estimated error levels are even higher.

This study revealed that 52 percent of organizations rely on ‘educated guesses or gut feelings’ to make decisions even when these are based on data. Businesses are starting to improve the accuracy of their data, however many of their efforts are based in departmental silos and do ot demonstrate consistency across data sources.

“Businesses talk a great deal about being data-driven, but most lack the trusted, reliable data they need to effectively leverage information to drive new initiatives,” said Thomas Schutz, senior vice president and general manager for Experian Data Quality. “Good data is good for business. We know that when we help organizations make improvements to their data, they see positive results. However, organizations need to develop an understanding of their data assets and speak a common language around data so the necessary investment can be made in a holistic data management practice.”

The study included more than 1,400 data professionals in eight separate countries. The results showed that many organizations are faced with inconsistent, legacy data management practices. Over 80 percent of organizations have less than optimum data management practices, leaving significant room for improvement. Many businesses do not have data-specific roles, and their data quality programs are hindered by departmental silos.

One challenge is that many existing data management strategies are based on individual departmental silos or sit primarily within the IT organization but modern data usage is shifting out of IT and moving into the business. Around 70 percent of organizations surveyed believed that the responsibility for data belonged with the business, with support from IT.

“Business units want to take control of their data assets and leverage data for specific departmental purposes like reporting or analytics. The IT department may not always know the context under which certain data was created or acquired, nor do they know the intended uses for that data down the road,” said Schutz. “Legacy data management practices can be updated to take into account the business user, keeping ease-of-use and cross-departmental collaboration.”

Other key findings:

  • 62 percent of organizations say the IT department has the greatest influence on how data is handled
  • 73 percent of C-level executives indicate that inaccurate data is undermining their ability to provide an excellent customer experience.
  • 85 percent of organizations globally experienced more timely and personalized customer communications as a result of improving their data quality solution.
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Kirstie Magowan

Kirstie Magowan

Kirstie Magowan is the managing editor of IT Chronicles. Kirstie is an experienced journalist and publisher who has been working in the IT Service Management industry since 1999. Kirstie is a regular speaker at industry conferences globally.