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Don’t let data become your Achilles heel

You have two hours to complete your midterm.  You may use your notes and handouts you have prepared, but no textbooks.  Begin.

Piece of cake, I think to myself with my notebooks and photocopies spread out across a tiny desktop.  I have done my due diligence in anticipation for this exam.  I love when teachers allow the use of notes.  How can I possibly get lower than an A?  I have my notes, my friends’ notes that I have photocopied and all the handouts.  Across my desk sits a sea of black ink bathed in yellow highlighter.

You have 20 minutes left to complete the exam.

What?! How can this be? I’m not even halfway through!  I’m scrambling as the minutes pass, using the last five minutes to blindly answer the remaining 50 questions.

Time is up.

I received a C- on my Intro to Greek Mythology midterm.  However, I learned an extremely valuable life lesson that has carried over to the professional world.

WHAT I DID WRONG: Right off the bat, the answer seems pretty simple: poor time management.  But what was the underlying cause of that?  I had all the information I needed.  In fact, I had collected so much data that it became overwhelming.

Keep in mind I had my notes and the notes of others.  However, these notes were taken in different formats.  In some cases the data from my notes conflicted with the data from others.  Sifting through multiple formats along with deciphering the accuracy of the conflicting duplicates ate up my time, and ultimately led to below average performance.

THE LESSON LEARNED: Data is the foundation of everything we do. How we collect, consume and access data determines everything, be it taking an exam, marketing to prospective clients or donors, maintaining compliance with client data, or upholding efficient business operations.

It is one thing to collect data. It’s another to have that data validated and in a universal, standardized format.  If the data is not valid and easily accessible, your advantage in having collected all this data can easily become your Achilles heel.

Ready to take the first step in handling your data? Check out for more information or talk to us @ExperianDQ!