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Using the right tools to tackle difficulties with data quality

Richard Jones

March 12, 2014

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Companies everywhere have a clear vested interest in working to maintain high levels of data quality. Retail organizations need good data because it helps them improve their marketing and sales strategies, while public health organizations use high-quality information to deliver personalized care and potentially save lives. In any industry, good information is a major driving force behind success.

But the difficulty lies in the question of how exactly to achieve success with data quality. How do you do it, and what tools do you need to make it happen?

The answer depends on exactly what kind of data you're working with, and what your goals are. If your goal is to make money off of customers, your objectives will likely be starkly different than if you're striving to deliver emergency relief or health care.

According to TechTarget, finding success requires a combination of the right tools and the right people. Laura Sebastian-Coleman, an expert on assessing data quality, believes that companies need to have strong software and hardware to manage their information, as well as talented data scientists to interpret any and all results.

"Getting benefits from tools requires analysts who can assess the data in relation to specific expectations or requirements," said Sebastian-Coleman. "Data analysts are the most important part of any data assessment. A tool can find characteristics that should be evaluated. But a person needs to apply knowledge to make the actual evaluation."

The specific tools and people required are also dependent on exactly what type of data an organization is working with. If it's a matter of gathering people's contact information and keeping it up to date, then address management solutions can play a key role in that process. If these consumers are largely online-oriented, then email verification might be more utile. In any event, finding the right tools to ensure data quality is essential.

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