The impact of Dirty Data – the facts at a glance

Sharomy Autar
July 6, 2020 - Reading Time 5 minutes

Big data: it is a fact of life. We create nearly 2.5 trillion gigabytes of data a day worldwide. And that number continues to grow. If the Forbes study is accurate, we will reach as much as 150 trillion gigabytes of data in the year 2025. This just makes the data industry even bigger.

It is no longer possible to ignore the growing market for big data; we are almost compelled to do something with all that data. Over 50% of companies believe that using their data effectively will help them can get better business, but many are not yet devising a strategy to achieve that goal. That’s too bad, because competitors who are strategic about data management will continue to stay ahead and gain more ground.

Although 95% of businesses see the need to deal with data pollution, dirty data also seems to be the biggest obstacle in getting started. And dirty data not only costs a lot of money, but also makes you miss out on opportunities.

What causes dirty data?

People make mistakes

We do not like to see ourselves as the cause of a problem. However, human error is often the biggest culprit in dirty data. We see that less automation results in making more mistakes.

Unclear strategy and procedure, or none at all

Besides human error, the lack of a clear strategy, good procedures and clear communication is also seen as the cause of dirty data. Integrations with other systems are also not always structured properly, resulting e.g. in discrepancies between databases. An earlier post on our blog described the benefits of linked data flowing throughout your organization. If you do not have this in place, chances are that the data in each system will be different. Obviously, that causes a major data problem.

Data entry takes time and distracts from core activities

Incorrect or incomplete data entry is often not caused by a disinclination to do it right. Entering data manually simply takes time. And time is money, but that’s not all. Employees, such as sales professionals, often feel that that they have better ways to spend their time. Time-consuming activities like data entry get in the way of your business targets and other work activities. Over 30% of sales professionals report that they spend at least one hour a day on data entry. A major source of annoyance here is that the data is not always available, which leads to errors or, worse yet: fields that are left unfilled.

In ons whitepaper ‘Data Detox: Raak je overtollige data kilo’s kwijt & breng je informatiestrategie in shape’ lees je hoe je een eerste data detox aanpakt in 5 eenvoudige stappen.

Help, my data is a mess!

You guessed it: people only discover that their data is dirty at the crucial moments. Suppose you’re on the phone with a customer, and the client has to notify you that the information you have about them is incorrect. It may sound bizarre, but research has shown that no less than 57% of data errors were spotted this way. Ouch! Painful for your reputation, and not exactly the best customer experience..

Fortunately, there is hope. It is possible to recoup about ten percent of the costs and add another ten percent of profit. How? By detoxing your data: giving your data a solid spring cleaning.

A data detox will put a stop to wasted resources and missed sales opportunities. Additional positive effects of getting improved data management up and running include more efficient collaboration between different teams. In turn, this leads to increased productivity and a better customer experience. The more manual checks and time-consuming data entry you’re currently using, the more impact a data detox will have.

For example, a large financial institution that we work with needed assistance. Due to the large number of verifications carried out by various departments, on-boarding a customer took a long time and the costs were sky-high. Before they did the data detox, on-boarding was costing them as much as 16,000 euros per customer. Fortunately, they have been able to reduce those costs considerably.

In ons whitepaper "Data Detox: Lose your excess data weight & get your information strategy in shape" you can read how to tackle a first data detox in 5 easy steps. This is the definitive solution that gets right to the heart of your master data problem. From data policies and data governance to setting up your systems, everything is covered.

After a data detox, you can have confidence in your data again. A progressive data policy will give you control of how you manage, link and monitor your business information. You’ll know that the numbers in your end-of-year report are accurate. You can rest assured that you can rely on forecasts based on sales results – and not unimportantly, if the customer calls, you can access accurate, up-to-date data in no time In short: Lower costs, a better reputation, greater customer satisfaction and more profit will be your new normal.


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