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Businesses should continuously monitor the quality of their data

Rachel Wheeler

October 25, 2013

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When smart companies gather large volumes of information about their consumers for analytical purposes, they know that ensuring data quality should be an immediate priority. For example, if they're given a list of customers with their names and contact information, they should immediately sift through that list to eliminate any entries that are duplicated, outdated or listed inaccurately in any way.

But that's not all. It's important for IT leaders to know that guaranteeing data quality is not a one-time action - it's a continuing pursuit. With new information funneling into companies' coffers all the time, the need to monitor it for quality never ends.

According to Information Management, companies put themselves at risk when they become complacent about the quality of their data. It's important for morale purposes to "inebriate" - or celebrate - over data quality successes, but that doesn't mean resting on one's laurels forever, says quality specialist Jim Harris.

"Like the legend of the phoenix, the end is also a new beginning," Harris stated. "Therefore, don't get too carried away when you inebriate, since you are not celebrating the end of your efforts. Your data quality journey has only just begun. Continuous monitoring must continue, and ongoing improvements must remain ongoing."

According to Dashboard Insight, companies must continually monitor the quality of their data for two main reasons. One is real-world alignment - companies must always make sure that the information in their databases reflects the perspectives of the data providers. If they become too myopic in their scope, they'll lose focus on the customers they're trying to serve.

The other data quality criterion is fitness for purpose of use. Companies' needs are always changing, and IT leaders must make sure that their data clusters remain relevant to the current objectives of their employers. Otherwise, they risk letting the fruits of all their hard work become obsolete.

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