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Big data brings big possibilities

Big data is something many of us talk about and use to become a data-driven organization. Data is being used today for many different key initiatives, especially around operational efficiency, product development and customer experience.

It has become so popular that 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.

But many companies are falling short of being truly data driven. Why? They lack the trust and accuracy in their data to truly embrace the insight they receive. We found that 92 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.

I have been conducting this research study for the better part of a decade and that percentage has only gone up. While I do think that number is extremely high and many businesses we deal with are not experiencing inaccuracy at that level, it does show that the majority of businesses have a serious issue around data accuracy and trust. The shocking part is that even with this distrust, we still talk about using this data for key decision making purposes.

One big reason for this lack of trust is that businesses have not progressed their data management strategies at the same pace that they have increased their use of data. Certainly security measures are more stringent now than they used to be and data infrastructure has been increased to keep up with the large volume of information we are dealing with. However, many businesses still either use manual processes for data management or segmented approaches that are based on single departmental needs rather than the entire business.

Organizations need to modernize their data management systems to think about data as a living, ever-evolving part of their business that needs proper governance and maintenance in order to be useful. Think about centralizing more of your strategy so that consistent standards are in place. But also consider the more recent trend of taking data management out of IT and putting it with a CDO who better understands the business needs around data and can help make it available to a larger portion of the organization.

This is a trend we are going to continue to monitor and will have more research coming out in just a few months.

For more information, listen to a new podcast from Tom Schutz, SVP and general manager of Experian Data Quality, on building a foundation in data quality: