Skip to main content

5 reasons to benchmark your data quality maturity

Charlotte Hill 6 minute read Data quality

It’s estimated that by the year 2025, the global data-sphere will be 10 times the amount recorded in 2016.¹ Times are changing and with all this data comes enormous challenges and equally sizable opportunities. According to our recent Global Data Management Research, new regulation is shaking things up, meaning more disruption than ever with consumers expecting responsible, ethical data practises. And yet there are huge rewards for those organisations taking data seriously and that’s no doubt why 83% see data as an integral part of forming a business strategy.

There’s no denying then that data has the potential to make or break an organisation’s ability to grow, compete and build great relationships with their customers. But what happens if that data isn’t accurate? Investing in innovation and complex data management projects are all good but if the data that sits behind it isn’t of sufficient quality, then it could seriously compromise any chance of success, or even have the opposite effect. You can read more about the importance of getting ‘back to basics’ with your data quality in a recent blog by Paul Malyon.

How accurate is your data?

The research told us that 83% of organisations trust their data to make key decisions within their business. You may assume then that a large majority are well advanced when it comes to data quality maturity, but that’s not necessarily the case. Our research found that on average organisations believe that 30% of current customer and prospect data is inaccurate in some way, with 69% believing that inaccurate data will undermine their ability to deliver an excellent customer experience. This discrepancy will have a big impact on many levels, from their ability to deliver meaningful business insight and customer relationships through to how well they can respond to regulatory requirements.

Where do you start?

If you want to tackle data quality issues, the very best place to start is by understanding your current position. That’s why we’ve just launched a new interactive data quality maturity assessment. It’s a great starting point for getting a benchmark of your data quality sophistication across the three core building blocks of a successful data improvement initiative; people, process, and technology. Taking the test will place you in one of four categories, ‘unaware’, ‘reactive’, ‘proactive’ or ‘optimised and governed’ and offer steps to take to make improvements. It could offer invaluable advice to kick-start your data quality initiative. Here’s why:

5 reasons to take a data quality maturity assessment

1) It will support your GDPR preparations

The GDPR is being introduced to raise the bar in the way personal data is managed and processed by organisations. There are indeed some requirements that deal specifically with the need to maintain the integrity of your data. The reality is however that the GDPR demands a host of requirements such as Subject Access Requests (SARs) and data breach response that rely heavily on having accurate, well-maintained data. We delve further into this in a blog about the GDPR and data quality

2) It will help justify your business case for investment

It can often be difficult to build a business case for data quality because you can’t prove the impact that an investment will make until you have the tools in the first place. It’s also the case that unless you can link data quality back to organisational goals of your stakeholders, it can be hard for them to grasp what ‘bad data quality’ looks like. Our maturity assessment provides a structured framework and set of definitions which can be used to bring an organisation’s level of data quality sophistication to life. A good approach is to consider undertaking a ‘lean pilot’ to prove your business case on a small scale (read more here) and present the results along with your assessment outcome. Combined, these will present a very tangible view of your current data quality maturity and what the potential uplift could be with investment. 

3) It will help you to prioritise specific areas of focus

Taking our assessment leads you through a series of questions linked back to the three building blocks of data quality strategy - people, processes and technology. By its very nature, the process of going methodically through these questions allows you to question where your organisation sits against each, and identify specific sources of ‘pain’ that you may not have previously considered. Understanding potential obstacles can then help you pinpoint the best place to focus your efforts for maximum results.

4) It will help you track your progress over time

The data quality maturity assessment is a useful tool to benchmark improvement. If you’re investing in new tools, making updates to processes or changing how people use data in your organisation, then taking the assessment over time is one good way to keep on track. It can give a good high-level view of whether your efforts are having the positive impact you envisaged from the outset or prompt you to delve deeper into why if they’re not.

5) It will help you spot inconsistency across the organisation

The data quality maturity assessment can work on many levels. It’s always useful to benchmark your organisation’s level of sophistication at a high level, but apply it to different areas of your business and the results can give more granular insight into where maturity can vary. This can quite often be the case in larger organisations where data quality is approached at a departmental level or where data strategy isn’t owned centrally. Having an organisational view can help to pinpoint specific areas that need attention, or indeed may well help to build a wider case for more central ownership of data.

So, what are you waiting for? Take the assessment. It takes just five minutes and it could be the boost you need to propel your data quality initiative to the next level.