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The cost of storing unused data

The amount of data that organizations collect and store continues to grow in size and complexity. With the shift toward big data, the volumes of information that businesses will need to collect and save will bring about unprecedented booms in the data storage industry—particularly cloud storage. According to a study by 451 research, the cloud storage market is expected to double from 2016 to 2017, with cloud storage costs jumping from $19 billion to nearly $40 billion. As organizations prepare to invest even more in storing their data, it is important to remember that storing vast amounts of data is only valuable when you know what to do with that data. Storing data you do not use can cost more than you may think. Along with being expensive to store, large volumes of data can overwhelm your teams who work to analyze the information and act as a hindrance to gaining valuable insights from it.

Seventy-six percent of organizations have underutilized data that costs the business money to store. As more and more data continues to become available, businesses will be faced with climbing costs for storage. To prevent costs from going through the roof, organizations will have to decide which data to store, and ensure that all data being stored adds value. Establishing data governance and data storage standards and procedures across the organization is important. Involving employees from across different departments is key. When you consider, for example, the vast amount of data that marketers collect and utilize to make decisions, having the marketing department identify what information should and should not be stored can help regulate data storage. It also makes sense to have the IT department monitoring data storage practices across the organization, to enforce established processes and avoid overpaying for unused or underutilized information.

Sometimes, data is unused or underutilized because it is inaccurate. In our 2017 global data management benchmark report, 54 percent of organizations identified outdated data as the top data inaccuracy they face. When you consider that contact data decays at a rate of more than 2 percent per month, it becomes easy to understand how many companies are paying to store outdated information. Regularly cleaning and updating stored contact information prevents your organization from paying to save dirty data. Along with outdated data, 51 percent of organizations found duplicate data to be a leading cause of inaccuracy. Data matching can help you remove duplicates from your database by linking similar records. This way, you aren’t paying more to store the same records.

Clean and accurate data is also essential for a single customer view (SCV), which an overwhelming majority (95%) of companies are looking to achieve. SCV is a single, aggregated record of a customer that provides insight into the individual’s interactions with each part of your organization. When asked what was preventing them from achieving a SCV, more than a third of organizations identified the volume of information as their top barrier. When such volumes of information act as a hindrance from achieving a SCV and are costing your business money to store, there is no justifiable reason to keep all the data. Sometimes, less really is more—and there is no point in collecting and storing data just for the sake of having it.

The best way to avoid the added costs of storing unused data is to make sure you know what information you need, ensure that it’s up to date, and to be prepared to discard unnecessary or inaccurate data.

Check out the full 2017 global data management benchmark report for more insights on how data quality affects business.