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How companies can use data quality to better manage their finances

Richard Jones

July 8, 2014

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When companies go to great lengths to ensure they meet high standards for data quality, it can benefit them in a wide variety of ways. On the surface, it's clear that they can improve in ways that are directly consumer-facing - when it comes to delivering sales pitches or marketing messages, for example, there's no doubt they can take a smarter approach if they have more accurate data. But it goes deeper than that.

Data quality can also lead, albeit indirectly at times, to companies making improvements to their internal operations. Take finance, for instance. If business leaders have clear information about their customers and their buying habits, they can use that knowledge to project their future sales, estimate their revenues and make plans for their financial futures.

The entire chain reaction begins with making sound decisions in database management.

Valuing both accuracy and speed
In order for companies to make the best possible decisions with their money, they need to be armed with information that's both accurate and timely. According to Smart Data Collective, there's a growing contingent of business leaders that have these principles figured out, and they're acting upon this knowledge in droves.

The news source reported that among companies that purport to have accurate customer data, 85 percent of them say they are "able to respond immediately or soon enough to changes in business or market conditions." Because they have clear and comprehensive knowledge, they can act with confidence.

Moreover, timeliness has also proven to be important. Among companies with data that's described as "up to date," 86 percent say they are able to react in a coordinated fashion to any market changes.

Why data stewardship matters
Of course, in order to make the best possible decisions where financial data is concerned, it's important that companies have IT personnel in place for acting as "data stewards" and safeguarding their corporate information. Business research expert Robert Kugel emphasized this point.

"Our research consistently finds that data issues are a root cause of many problems encountered by modern corporations," Kugel stated, according to Smart Data Collective. "One of the main causes of bad data is a lack of data stewardship - too often, nobody is responsible for taking care of data. Fixing inaccurate data is tedious, but creating IT environments that build quality into data is far from glamorous, so these sorts of projects are rarely demanded and funded."

In other words, if companies want data at their fingertips that's accurate and current, they can't sit on their hands and wait for it. They need to make it happen with strong database management practices.

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