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The 'division problem' with ensuring data quality

Richard Jones

January 23, 2014

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Companies around the world are eager to do more with data in order to better understand their customers. In a typical large enterprise, this is evident across numerous departments.

Marketers want to collect more consumer information so they can deliver better advertising messages. Salespeople want more data so they can close more transactions and secure more profits. Customer service professionals want to know more about their users and their tendencies.

All of this is well and good. There's one problem, though - often, these companies fail to unite all of these disparate sources of information under one roof. Each department is working separately, making it difficult to bring all the data together and help employees work toward a common goal.

This is a widespread problem. According to research from Experian Data Quality, 31 percent of businesses say that a lack of internal communications between departments is a significant cause of inaccuracies in corporate data. The marketing, sales and service departments are all collecting information, but they aren't discussing it amongst themselves, and the result tends to be mass confusion.

Specifically, one problem that arises is that of duplicate records. A marketing team might enter a given customer in one database, while a salesman puts the same individual into a separate record. This is already confusing enough, but it could be worse. What if the two entries have two different addresses? What if a name is misspelled? There are numerous opportunities for data quality mishaps. All in all, 30 percent of companies believe that duplicates are among their top three problems with their data.

Of all businesses polled, 66 percent admit that they currently lack a coherent, centralized strategy for data quality. It's imperative that this change. Without more attention to quality, companies are bound to keep making mistakes in all corners of their operations.

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