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Companies need "use it or lose it" attitude to maintain data quality

Paul Newman Archive

Most companies are excited about the prospect of big data, but they aren't quite as anticipatory about the data quality tools they need to accomplish their goals and complete necessary business tasks, Evan Levywrote in a blog post for Information Management. Levy explains that data quality isn't about perfection, it's about verifying the content necessary for accomplishing specific tasks.

For a call center, that may include clients' phone numbers, he adds. If systems contain multiple datasets for one phone number, customer service representatives have to take extra time to sort through content on those pages to find the information that's correct and up-to-date, which can hurt satisfaction scores and discourage loyalty. However, if the phone number is not correctly recorded in the system, employees may not be able to help customers at all.

Don't always retain and maintain
However, that's not to say that businesses should hold on to all of the data they have ever collected. Now that we are in the era of big data and petabytes are being generated every day, it's not practical or prudent for companies to store allthe data they have collected, no matter how much they like the idea ofhoarding potentially helpful content, according to Jim Harris, who recently addressed the issue in an article for The Data Roundtable Blog.

Most companies are in the habit of retaining and maintaining all of the data they can, but they should really switch over to a "use it or lose it," mentality, Harris writes. He points out that all data have expiration dates at which point they are no longer useful. Clearing content out after that deadline may require better data management.

Data management still maturing
Volumes of data are growing rapidly and so are the analytics tools that can turn seemingly disparate information into valuable insights, but the guidelines to govern new business intelligence strategies still lag behind, Carlo Donati, former CEO of Nestle Waters, recently told The Hindu Business Line. Big data is still in its nascence, and the people who are most knowledgeable about emerging technologies are younger professionals who may not feel confident making important decisions regarding how long data should be retained.

However, like all technology that once seemed novel, big data and data management will mature and become industry standards, Donati told the source.