Is it Time to Improve the Quality of Your Data?

Big Data

In 2015, collecting data is no longer an issue for companies, thanks to the rapid uptake of new technology. The proliferation of information now means that every organisation has ample opportunities to gather and analyse data in order to drive business performance.

According to research from the University of Southern California, the amount of data stored by humans reached 295 exabytes in 2011 – that’s 295 billion gigabytes. Since then, the amount of data has likely increased at an exponential rate.

If anything, businesses now have access to an excess of information, reaching the point where many are struggling to manage, synthesise and organise this data into a useful format. That’s why many are turning to master data management to better organise the unstructured information the company has access to.

So when do organisations need to invest in master data management? Here are three signs that your organisation could use master data management to improve data quality.

1) Multiple points within your organisation are collecting customer data

Organisational silos can make if difficult to gather information about customers, especially for larger companies with many branches. A retail business, for example, may be collecting information on individuals across their online and in-store purchases, while also gathering data through their loyalty program.

When this information is separated between different branches of a business or duplicated by repetitive processes, it becomes harder to glean insights from it. What’s more, inconsistencies between different data sets – even for basic information like a customer’s address – can reduce the usefulness of company information.

2) Data management is currently decentralised

Just as important as where data is being collected from is the process a company uses to manage and sort this data. Research from PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) found that centralised data management systems with strong internal governance yield better quality data as a result.

PwC’s study found that on a scale of one to five – one being the highest – companies with strong internal governance rated their customer data as a 1.8. Decentralised information with no central governance scored a much lower 3.9. The same pattern emerged across supplier, financial, employee and product data.

3) Your business is only just starting to collect large quantities of data

This point is especially relevant for SMEs that are only just starting to collect and analyse data for the first time. While it can be tempting to think this unstructured data is manageable, as a company grows this information is only going to be more difficult to administer.

SMEs therefore need to plan ahead so they have the capabilities to manage and use the data they are gathering. Putting systems in place early can ensure they are getting the most from new sources of information.

Structuring data effectively is something every modern business needs to consider if they want to gain insights into their business partners and make informed corporate decisions.