Poor data quality damages reputations

10th December 2013

The Problem

Data is like money, if you keep it under the mattress it won’t increase in value, but if you use and invest it wisely it will pay dividends. Data is a key asset of any business, but only if it is used to create information, that can be turned into knowledge. Data Quality refers to using your data as efficiently and effectively as you can in helping you manage your customers, your suppliers and your business. The symptoms of poor data quality include:

  • Extra work created because customer issues are not dealt with at point of first contact, because of hard to find, missing or incomplete information
  • Downstream issues such as customer complaints, product returns, and rework  due to errors in data
  • Multiple IT systems being used to manage single processes, increasing user effort and human error
  • Large amounts of old, meaningless data cluttering your systems
  • Duplication and fragmentation of data across different functions, business units and businesses
  • Staff employing workarounds to circumvent existing systems
  • Excessive use of expertise, time and effort to maintain data
  • High IT storage and maintenance costs

The results of poor data quality include: damage to customer satisfaction and valuable reputations, inefficiency in processes, increased effort spent on managing data and in some cases a lack of regulatory compliance or data security, that could lead to fines or worse. This means that data quality is a critical business issue – rooted in people, process and technology – rather than just a responsibility that should be delegated to IT.

The Solution

We know that data quality improvement saves money and protects reputation but how do you go about Improving Data Quality Quickly and Effectively?

The diagram below outlines the main stages of Rapid Data Quality Improvement (RDQi).

Key Outcomes & Benefits

As well as increasing efficiency, reducing effort spent on managing data and improving compliance and data security, a series of specific benefits will result.

  • Improved customer experience, customer retention & meeting previously unidentified needs
  • Enhanced sales forecasting and planning and more effective marketing
  • Reduced avoidable errors and associated costs in a wide variety of core processes
  • Improved decision making with reduced management time and related overheads
  • The ability to rationalise suppliers (whether you are a product or service based business) and make improved purchasing decisions

If you would like to discuss this article in more detail then contact

Rob Oakland at Oakland Consulting LLP