Having confidence in your business’s data comes from knowing that your data is of good quality. This means being aware of all of your sources and how that data has been managed, stored and handled over time. If you can’t be sure of these details, little red flags should be waving. Your data quality could be suspect.

Bad data can cause a world of issues for businesses, from inaccurate analytics and reporting that could be detrimental to business processes, to a damaged reputation. Not to forget the financial implications of bad data. According to a recent report by Gartner into data quality, analysts estimate that poor data quality is costing organisations on average £9 million annually.

A further report by the ICO into big data has highlighted the need for businesses to be more aware of the threat of bad data and its potential to bring entire systems to a halt, causing losses and liabilities. The report draws attention to not only data protection, but also the need to ensure its quality, promoting businesses to undergo a behavioural change to avoid getting caught in a deluge of bad data. What this comes down to is quality and consistency. These attributes are vital in order for businesses to leverage the information capital at their fingertips, rather than them just simply collecting big data and analysing it.

So, do you really trust your data quality? There are 3 questions that businesses should be asking themselves before committing to answering this question with “yes”:

1. Do you know where your data comes from?

There are many opportunities for data to become contaminated during its lifecycle, if you are unsure of this, then you cannot be sure where to begin should you find a problem. By 2017, it is expected that 33 percent of Fortune 100 companies will experience an information crisis due to their inability to adequately govern and trust their enterprise information, avoid similar fate by knowing your data’s origins

2. Have you implemented a data quality firewall?

Like software based firewalls that protect computers against threats from the public internet, you should consider a solution that enables real-time evaluation to monitor and ensure data integrity at every step of the way. You protect your computers from viruses so why would you not protect your data?

3. Can you measure the extent of the issue?

46 percent of companies do not measure the quality of their data, which is highly problematic as being able to access the scope of your data problem is essential should you encounter an issue. Consider employing a data integrity solution with a profiling function that provides findings on basic data statistics, uniqueness and frequency to ensure that all measurement criteria are addressed.

Addressing data quality issues is not something to be taken lightly. At the end of the day, bad data is bad for business. If you haven’t been able to answer these questions then it may be time to consider your options with data quality and Master Data Management (MDM) technology. In today’s world of big data, staying on top of quality and data management is more challenging and more important than ever, which is why businesses should consider employing an end-to-end solution that delivers MDM, data governance and quality capabilities in one package. This is one step towards ensuring data integrity and restoring confidence in your data.


By Peter Walker, Country Manager UKI, Information Builders

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