Do You Need to Audit Your Data?

ART03x - image EDCan you rely on your business data to make strategic decisions?

Do you question the accuracy of your reports?

According to Experian, 93% of leaders believe data is essential to business success, yet 66% lack a coherent approach to data quality. In the following article, we discuss how a data audit can play an important role in improving your business…

What is a Data Audit?

As explained on Techopedia, “a data audit refers to the auditing of data to assess its quality or utility for a specific purpose.” Essentially, it is an assessment of your data management strategy with a view to improve the overall quality.

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Why is Data Auditing so Important?

Reduce Errors

According to Experian, human error and manual entry are the main causes of data inaccuracy, with the average company losing 12% of its revenue as a direct result. The reason for this lies in the lack of internal processes to check accuracy, either at the point of capture or via back-office data cleansing.

A data audit will help you identify inaccuracies and put processes in place to prevent them. If this is the first time you are attempting to audit your data, it’s important to know that you are not alone; there are professionals that can help. By using data management software, you can quickly ensure that your data is duplicate-free, consistent, and accurate – providing you with a single customer view you can trust.

Maintain Compliance

The new General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), due to come into force in May 2018, will strengthen data protection rules for businesses in the EU. Nonetheless, Gartner estimates by the end of 2018, over 50% of companies will not be in full compliance with the new requirements. This could result in fines as high as €20 million or up to 4% of global turnover.

To stay compliant, the Information Commissioner’s Office recommends you document what personal data you hold, where it came from, and whom you share it with. This will enable you to implement measures to reduce your risk of an information security breach.

Improve Customer Service

Have you ever been on the phone with customer service, trying to find out why the engineer never showed up? Those mistakes can be a source of frustration for customers, leading to complaints and ultimately low retention levels.

Data auditing will allow you to view the audit trail of changes made to customer data by employees, helping you find the right details within seconds. From there you can address issues faster, which translates to happier customers and more business.

How to Conduct a Data Audit:

Find Out What you Have

Make a list of the different types of data assets you have. This might include:

  • CRM software customer information
  • POS purchase information
  • Online shopping data
  • Email marketing contacts
  • Social media followers

Top Tip: Don’t forget to think about data that is stored by third parties and disparate systems, like Excel spreadsheets, PayPal accounts, MailChimp or eBay.

Find Out Where it is

Once you’re clear on what you have, you have to find out where it is and how to access it.

Top Tip: The process may involve talking to those who use that data on a daily basis, which will help you identify what problems they’re facing managing it.

Prioritize and Organize

Determine which information drives the most profits for your company. This might be mailing addresses above email addresses if you drive profits through direct marketing.

Top Tip: If you have collected thousands of customers’ birth dates that don’t influence your business decisions, you are simply wasting your time and effort, so remove the process of collecting this data.

Identify Gaps
Look at the data you have already and decide what additional data would be of use to you and will help you to understand and anticipate your customers’ needs more effectively.

Implement Data Quality Processes

Introduce data policies and procedures to ensure you collect valuable data and store it in a format that is accessible to everyone. Think of security and make sure you are compliant. Ensure staff has relevant training and is aware of data quality benefits and protections for security purposes.

Need Help?

A regular data audit will ensure you maintain data integrity and allow you to flag issues requiring attention, which will benefit the business as a whole.

At DQ Global, we provide a free data quality audit and will make recommendations on how your data can be improved. Check out more here.


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Martin Doyle

Martin Doyle

Armed with qualifications in mechanical engineering, business and finance, and experience of running engineering and CRM businesses, Martin founded a successful CRM (Customer Relationship Management) software house in 1992, supplying systems to large, medium and small sized companies. Developing a deep understanding of the value of data, he became concerned that many organisations were making decisions based on poor quality data. To fill this gap in the market, he sold the CRM company and started DQ Global in 2002 to provide data quality solutions, with a mission to detect, correct and prevent data defects which undermine business decisions. Since then, DQ Global has become a global market leader, delivering enterprise-wide data solutions utilising leading edge technology. Martin has gained a wealth of knowledge and experience and has established himself as a Data Quality Improvement Evangelist and an industry expert.

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