Managing data correctly and as efficiently as possible is crucial for all businesses as data is the very basis of what organisations are built upon. It covers clients, contacts, employees, forecasts, investors/investment, past business failures, past business successes, and lots more meaningful information that, when managed correctly, can help to grow an organisation and minimise future risks. Data management is now a differentiator between those who will succeed and those who will get left behind.
Here are my top tips to make the most of the competitive and operational advantages available in managing your data:
- Invest in people, not just tech
While investment in technology remains a priority around the world, Australian organisations are somewhat under-investing in people. This leads to pressing issues around the ownership and management of data across departments, and severe inconsistencies in data quality. Investing in data scientists, business data stewards and analytics professionals across the company will help to make the most of your organisation’s data.
- On that note, appoint a Chief Data Owner (CDO)
Hiring a dedicated central data owner improves the monitoring and optimisation of data collection processes, with companies who have centralised data quality management strategies enjoying a significant increase in profits in the last 12 months. My advice? Consider appointing a CDO – someone who will oversee all data-related processes and assets across the organisation.
- Take a more proactive stance towards data issues
Most organisations uncover data quality issues too late – often only when they have been reported by employees, customers or prospects. Data evolves quickly, and with 2.5 quintillion bytes of data being created each day, the chances of your data becoming outdated is high. However, you can remain ahead of the curve by conducting proactive data audits to find common errors and using specialist detection software to ensure all information being used is accurate.
- Don’t neglect your email database
Despite a myriad of apps and platforms coming to the fore, email remains one of the most important communication channels for Australian businesses, with loyalty programs, marketing campaigns and new customer outreach continuing to drive company reach and success. But the quality of your email database is crucial to the success of these initiatives.
- Complete data is data worth collecting
Over half of organisations (51%) cite incomplete or missing data as their most common data quality issue. This highlights the importance of putting rules in place to ensure all required details are collected by staff, and exploring validation technology to further ensure accuracy. To harness the full power of your customer responses, it’s a fine balance between collecting as much information as you can from your audience, without risking drop-off by making it as quick and easy as possible to enter their details is critical.
- Tailor consistency with business-wide solutions
Data management has no one-size-fits-all answer. Every organisation uses different types of data for different purposes and maintaining different workflows across teams. But while data usage varies dramatically across your business, that doesn’t mean that you should be tailoring siloed data quality solutions to each department. Consistency across the organisation is key.
- Track metrics on the benefit of good data
Some organisations cite budgetary constraints as the main reason why data quality does not always receive sufficient investment to improve. This is often because the key benefits of good data are not tracked or communicated well with the C-suite. It’s important to be selling your case for data quality investment by providing solid insights and metrics around whatever matters most to the organisation, such as decision making, call centre efficiency, operational success and customer satisfaction. Tracking these metrics can also help you determine potential issues and measure return on investment, ensuring continued support for your data quality efforts.
An experienced leader of sales and business development teams, Steve Philpotts is Experian’s General Manager for Data Quality and Targeting for Australia and New Zealand. Steve’s career at Experian spans over 11 years, starting out in the UK within Experian’s QAS business before making the move to the Sydney office in 2009 to manage some of the Data Quality business’ key accounts.