If you run a business, you understand the impact of good data. You can get a better overview of your company, analyze your current operations and make smarter choices about the future. However, bad data can have the opposite effect—clouding your judgment and leading to missteps and errors.
Learn more about the importance of data quality and how to ensure you maintain reliable data quality for your organization.
Why Is Ensuring Data Quality Important?
Data is one of an organization’s most important assets. Whatever your industry, you rely on accurate and plentiful data to make informed decisions that drive your success. Supply chain numbers, customer demographics, the latest product prices, sensitive client information — all of these facts and figures let you know how your business is performing and where you should go next.
“Facts and figures about your business performance tell you where you’ve been and where you’re going.”
When these numbers are inaccurate, hard to come by or unsecured, your brand faces significant challenges. False data can cause you to make the wrong decisions — if you underestimated the year’s shipping costs, you could throw off your budget by tens of thousands of dollars. Without enough data, you could be making underinformed guesses that don’t reflect your company’s true goals or potential.
Perhaps most importantly, a lack of sufficient protection for your data can lead to leaks, theft or other cybercrimes, which may have a disastrous impact on your brand. In 2021, the FBI reported cybercrime was responsible for $6.9 billion in losses from businesses in the U.S. Criminals can mess with your data, stealing it or rendering it inaccurate. A breach will betray your clients’ trust — if you can’t keep their information safe, they’ll take it to another business.
7 Ways to Ensure Data Quality
There are several ways to maintain data integrity while running your business. Following these objectives will help you stay on top of data collection and quality assurance.
1. Establish Clear Metrics
How do you measure success? There are endless ways to quantify quality — you might focus on accuracy, consistency, relevancy, promptness or uniqueness. All of these factors and more can be valuable depending on your industry.
Setting clear metrics for your data will ensure you know what you’re looking for and collect it successfully. Establishing standards across the board will inform your employees what to gather and how to organize it.
2. Implement Close Monitoring
As you gather data, make sure you have a quality control team monitoring information as it comes in. The data-receiving stage is your first and best chance to ensure quality — only accepting and analyzing high-calibre data now will cut back on the work you have to do later. You can use your established metrics and internal training to ensure your company only collects valuable information.
“Keeping a close eye on incoming data is a proactive step companies can take toward data integrity.”
3. Integrate Data Streams
Data streams are continuous pipelines of data, gathering various types of information about your business you can use for deeper insights. These automated data-gathering systems often work hand-in-hand with software that can process and analyze the information.
Integrating data streams into your operations ensures you have a constant source of relevant information you can use to grow your business. You’ll be able to measure growth and identify potential areas of improvement.
4. Apply Access Control Measures
Security is an important part of data quality management. Keeping business information protected from hackers or other unauthorized users ensures it remains accurate — tampered data may not reflect your company’s true status. When you apply access control measures, you’ll know who can view and handle your data and what they do with it.
5. Remove Duplicate Content
Avoiding inaccuracies in your data means preventing the occurrence of duplicated information. Whether due to human error or faulty data collection methods, duplicated data can skew your numbers and lead to major miscalculations.
Removing duplicate content relies on a combination of quality control teams and software that can catch inaccurate repetitions. You can ensure higher-quality results when your data is up-to-date and correctly tallied.
6. Use the Cloud
Cloud technologies are constantly evolving and creating new opportunities for nearly every business operation. Data quality is no exception — you can use the cloud to store and share your data with relevant parties in a secure way. Uploading your information with cloud software makes it easier to share with employees in any location compared to physical copies or data stored on a hard drive that takes time to upload and send to third parties.
“Cloud data management software is the way of the future — protect and access your high-quality data with ease.”
7. Investigate Failures
Every organization faces challenges — it’s inevitable that you’ll see a few data quality errors or failures from time to time. When you take the time and resources to look into these failures, identify the cause and develop solutions, you’ll emerge stronger than ever.
If you’re struggling with poor-quality data, stepping back to evaluate your current processes and investigate failures can give you the insight to improve.
Sustaining Data Quality for Your Business
Creating and maintaining quality data is an ongoing battle for every business. Following these steps to develop a stronger data quality management system can help ensure you gather the most important information and keep it safe at all times.