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Too many companies are neglecting their data quality needs

Rachel Wheeler Archive

There's a great deal of awareness around the IT community, and elsewhere in the business world, that data quality is an important ingredient of success. In order to stay relevant, companies need to keep one finger on the pulse of their clientele, and especially with larger enterprises, human interaction isn't enough. Rich banks of accurate data are necessary for helping companies paint the complete picture.

Practically everyone knows this. But sadly, there's a difference between knowing and acting. Despite the high level of awareness about data quality today, there are still far too many business leaders neglecting it as they go about their daily operations.

Direct Marketing News recently called attention to the alarming proportion of business leaders who are neglecting their data quality needs today. Jerry Rackley, chief analyst for global marketing research and advisory firm Demand Metric, conducted a survey of organizations of varying sizes, and he found that many had problems with so-called "dirty data."

A significant majority of respondents - around 63 percent - admitted that their sales and marketing data included numerous errors. Typically, these mistakes included misspelled names, incorrect contact information and outdated entries. Despite these problems, 55 percent of respondents said that their companies have no formal data-cleansing processes in place.

"The business case for keeping data clean is compelling," Rackley told the news source.

Typical problems
Rackley's study uncovered three main problems with emphasizing data quality in corporate headquarters.

One was simply not enough people caring about it. Among IT leaders polled, 49 percent said frankly that "data hygiene is not a priority" for their companies at this time. More needs to be done to educate these officials about the importance of clean information.

A lack of technical skills is also an issue. Rackley found that 37 percent of respondents admitted to not having data-cleansing skills, either personally or collectively among their corporate ranks. It's difficult to ensure data quality without the technical know-how.

Finally, companies also lack awareness about the resources available to them for cleansing data. Among Rackley's respondents, 21 percent said they don't have the knowledge required to pursue higher levels of data quality. Luckily, there are software solutions available for just that, helping companies eliminate imperfections in their corporate information.