6 things that affect your data quality and reliability

Let’s talk about some of the causes that impact the quality and reliability of data in organisations.

Here are some of the things that we found that affects the quality and reliability of data in the number of organisations that we’ve worked in.

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Multiple Data Systems

For example, if you’re looking to capture customer data, be captured in a number of systems that are across an organisation, how do you know which one is that source of truth for that customer? Do you have the updated address details of who that customer is or your last interaction?

So if I’m viewing them in one system, I might not have all that data from viewing it in another system. But, then, I might be seeing the recent version, depending on who you tend to be, what you might see.

Information Silos

This is where data is held by could be a person, a team, or other people either within the team or division or any other part of that organisation, either doesn’t know it exists or can’t get hold of it or can’t get access to it.

That means they’re potentially having to try and find that data elsewhere, which may not represent what they need or completely miss out on the data.

So we’ve seen situations where, for example, mailing lists have gone out to stakeholders or customers, and a whole batch has been missed because no one was aware that this other piece of data existed elsewhere in the organisation.

Lack Of Fully Defined Data

We’ve probably all seen this over time. Like when someone asked, “how many customers do we have?” Or “how many of something did happen last week?” And, you know, the answer you get back depends on who you ask because we all have our thoughts of what something means. 

So what’s really important today is that as an organisation, we have very well-defined data, like “What is a customer” or “what does revenue mean” — all those sorts of things to have a collective definition of something. 

And so when you are producing reports or you are looking at data, and looking at that information that you’re basing your decisions off, that consistent view rather than what you think maybe your view of what that data should be.

Lack Of Expertise

So what that comes down to is a lack of expertise. What happens is that they do little about it, or they perhaps skip some expertise for a short period, I suppose there was a tactical fix on that data, but without actually fixing the key causes of what’s causing that data to become unreliable in the first place. 

So it’s important to know when you’re looking at data quality issues as to what are those. What are those key causes and how to remediate, not just the impacted data, but to try and stop that from happening again. 

To do that, you need some real expertise in how to go through that process. So first is to identify the unreliable data, and secondly, how to remediate that technically and strategically.

Data Governance

Typically what might happen is it’s thought that information technology departments are responsible for an organisation’s data, which in fact, they’re not; they tend to be responsible for making sure that systems that run an infrastructure that they run on are kept up to date and running smoothly but, it’s actually a business we know around the data that that’s critically important. 

And whilst data governance can be seen to be fairly boring to a lot of people, it’s incredibly important because it’s the business and the users of that data that should be taking the most care with that data, making sure that it’s entered correctly and is able to be used for reporting and analytical purposes, and it’s reliable and fit for purpose to do that. 

behaviour of people and culture

Behaviour Of People And Culture

So I talked about governance and how that was really related to a business issue with regards to managing data. So one of the other things around that as well is the behaviour of people and the culture. 

So, where we see organisations that really value the data they have and treat it like any other assets that they own, then we find that the reliability of the data they have is quite higher.

Where data isn’t seen as a strategic priority or a key asset, then what we find is that the quality of the data is much less. So that thinking and that behaviour resonate down, and so people and all that facts about what’s entered or the quality of a statement as being someone else’s problem to resolve.

And so what you end up with poor quality data and data that is unreliable to use for reporting analysis and your decision-making.

What’s Next?

Get in touch with us today and learn more about how you can improve your organisation’s data quality and reliability.

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