When we discuss data quality, what we really need to be talking about is waste. The reality is that poor data generates an inordinate amount of physical and abstract waste in any organization, and it does this in a myriad of ways. It’s important to keep in mind the negative impact poor data has on your business, even if you haven’t thought of its impact in these general terms before. Here are a few ways to think about waste associated with data quality that you may have not considered.
Poor Data and Wasted Money
One of our earliest partners utilizing our data quality solution was a publishing company. Despite their best efforts to make sure their mailing lists were accurate, they were losing thousands of dollars every month on wasted postage, wasted printed materials, and wasted press time because their mailing lists were inaccurate. Wrong zip codes, wrong names, and incorrectly formatted addresses were causing thousands of dollars of waste every time a magazine was mailed. This firm published thirty titles a month, so you can imagine how much money was lost each month when this waste was added up. On the bright side, if there is one in this scenario, they could see in black and white how much their bad data was costing them, making it an easy leap to calculate their ROI on a data quality solution.
Poor Data and Wasted Tools
With a background in digital marketing, I can tell you that your marketing campaign is really only going to be as good as the data you have at your disposal. Google AdWords is extremely effective if you’re bidding on keywords that are actually converting, just as email marketing can generate a lot of revenue, but only if fifty-percent of the email addresses in your list don’t bounce back because they’re formatted wrong. Your expensive, highly-functional CRM can increase productivity and performance in your sales team, but only if the phone numbers and contact information are accurate and timely. What I’m getting at here is that you can spend all the money in the world on tools to make your business more efficient, your marketing more effective, and your people more productive. But those tools are rendered completely useless and offer no value if the data behind them is less than stellar. Your investment in your business tools, as well as the tools themselves, are wasted because of your poor data.
Waste in business can largely be reduced, or even eliminated, by taking steps to ensure the data your business is utilizing is as accurate, timely, and valid as possible.