No matter the industry, data has come to play an important role in all aspects of business operations. Companies such as Boeing use data to test engines and tech giants like Microsoft gather thousands of terabytes from large data centres. On a smaller scale, many businesses across the globe depend on access to customer data to form stronger relationships and subsequently pull ahead of competitors.
As many will likely guess, the quality of this data is of the utmost importance. For example, how can a company expect to understand a particular market niche or customer segment if the data isn’t up to date or even relevant? This what makes data enhancement practices a necessary undertaking for every business – not solely for the industry giants but even the smallest organisations.
Information really means little based on quantity alone.
Data proliferation and the era of the zettabyte
To understand how significantly data has grown over recent years, one only needs to take a look at an industry giant like Microsoft. The organisation now runs over 100 data centres, a number that continues to climb as businesses make use of increasingly large quantities of information.
Similar growth is occurring across the globe, as businesses in many countries start to realise the value of data and make greater use of the information. Taking a look at network growth, communications giant Cisco released information as part of their Visual Networking Index (VNI), which explores global IP traffic across the globe.
The organisation expects that global IP traffic will pass the zettabyte mark by the end of next year, and will reach two zettabytes by the end of 2019. It’s substantial growth, and represents a fivefold increase over the past five years alone, with a further threefold increase in the next three years.
This is data that’s being used by consumers and businesses alike, and with so much information available, it’s going to be essential to ensure that it’s at the right level of quality. After all, information really means little based on quantity alone – businesses need access to quality data. Using Boeing as an example again, it’s unlikely the organisation could make use of engine data if it was unsorted and not readily available.
With the quality and availability of data in mind, how can organisations ensure that they truly understand the structure and relationship of data, in order to make better business decisions? The answer lies with multiple processes to fully enhance data.
Enhancing the quality of available data is something every business can do, but it’s especially useful with regards to customers. Take a call centre, for example, this is just one operation that depends on quality, up-to-date customer information. Failing to keep data relevant could lead to unnecessary setbacks.
Below are several of the necessary processes to improve the quality of business data.
Analysing and profiling: should form the first steps when businesses set out to enhance data. This involves taking a closer look at the available information and providing views of completeness, along with frequency and common terms. Then, profiling can show the state of the data and documents and outline the next steps for processes like cleansing and matching.
Cleansing and standardising: involve filtering out unwanted data elements, essentially removing information that’s no longer relevant. In turn, the quality of the remaining data can be enriched. The standardisation process commonly involves regulating terms like Rd to Road, and NZ to New Zealand. These standardised terms are then set throughout the system.
Data validation: involves verifying existing data, whether names, phone numbers or addresses. This process is carried out via searching on verification services or using reference data sets.
Knowledge extensions: allow the business to enhance processes by connecting available data to other data sets. For example, mapping data to help businesses visualise the spread of their customers.
Address geocoding: is a process that can prove useful when trying to identify customer locations. Basically, it means matching addresses in the system to geocoded data sets. It’s also possible append latitude and longitude, although accuracy will fluctuate.
How can companies ensure that is always of the highest quality?
A solution with a capable provider
With data one of the most valuable assets for the modern organisation, the effective management and enhancement of this information should form a top priority. The question is, how can companies ensure that it is always of the highest quality and structured correctly? By working with a skilled provider.
Mastersoft provides data enhancement solutions that include many of the services noted above. These include knowledge extensions, validation, address geocoding and cleansing and standardising, all of which enable a company to enforce better control of information.
To learn more about capable data enhancement, as well as other services such as address checking and validation, reach out to Mastersoft.