Data quality threatens business stability on international scale

By Rachel Wheeler, Experian

Across the world, organizations are making the conscious decision rely more on data mining and analytics for improving their operations, and all of them should care about data quality.

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The need for high-quality data is a rampant issue across business of all shapes and sizes. For any organization that manages information about customers or internal workflows, it’s important to make sure that all that knowledge is verifiable and actionable. With dirty data, companies run the risk of making poor decisions in marketing, customer service or human resources.

This problem is by no means limited to businesses in the United States. Across the world, organizations are making the conscious decision rely more on data mining and analytics for improving their operations, and all of them should care about data quality.

IT Business Edge recently reported on the clear need for higher data standards in the United Kingdom, for instance. The news source reported that the costs associated with bad data in the UK can be exorbitant – the Ministry of Defence told the news source that problems with data accuracy were contributing to 1 billion pounds worth of investment monies being squandered.

Martin Doyle, dubbed the “data quality improvement evangelist” at DQ Global, told the news source that because of misspellings and other inaccuracies in people’s names and addresses, the British government is headed for some serious financial hardship.

“Data is so vital in modern life that poor data quality can be catastrophic for millions of people, and the sooner we realize, the sooner we can face the challenge head on,” Doyle stated. “We see this time and again – large organizations plow money into projects that should make information management easier, but the data flowing through the system is not of a high enough standard to make investment worthwhile.”

Information Management recently noted that this problem is widespread, not limited to one particular government office in the UK. According to the news source, 47 percent of organizations overall say that data integration is a “key issue” affecting their operations, and 56 percent report that maintaining quality and consistency in data is a significant challenge.

This is a matter of global concern. Just as the U.S. and UK rely heavily on data for making key decisions, markets in other countries are also contingent on analytics. Indian companies need clean data for improving their customer service initiatives, and retailers in Japan and China are looking to better understand their massive bases of consumers. Good data is important everywhere, and organizations around the globe must make an effort to invest in accuracy.