Data Strategy Doesn’t Ensure Quality: Report

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January 27, 2011 – Even with data quality strategies in place, nearly 90 percent of U.S. business and IT leaders fear they’re working with inaccurate information, a symptom of too much human input and a lack of resources, according to a new Experian QAS survey.

The Boston-based software company focused on data quality and management in “Contact Data Management: Bridging the Gap,” an analysis of responses from 1,320 business representatives across industry sectors and located in the U.S., Europe, Asia and Australia.

In the survey, Experian found that four out of five U.S. companies noted they have a documented data quality strategy. Still, respondents estimated that poor data quality may plague up to 24 percent of their information and noted that about 15 percent of their IT budgets were “lost” from incorrect data, the report stated.

Experian remarked that companies are making new strides on better data quality, though they found some of the same old reasons for bad data (respondents chose a number of answers): human error (59 percent); insufficient budget (30 percent); lack of internal manual resources (25 percent); and inadequate data strategy (25 percent).

In the findings, Experian suggested data management protocols that favor system input rather than human entry, cleaning and analysis. Also, the data quality software company suggested increasing IT investment and moving more data into virtual environments.

Thomas Schutz, SVP, General Manager of Experian QAS, says businesses are beginning to realize that improvements and investments in data quality often bring a financial gain.

“The first step in dealing with any issue is admitting there is a problem, which we see most businesses doing based on the survey results,” Schutz says. “Now the question becomes whether business will act on the problem, and actually improve data management systems to correct information before it enters business processes, rather than using manually correcting bad data on the back end. We are starting to see more businesses move to these type of systems.”

In addition, Schutz says a growing trend toward cloud deployment and software as a service should improve data quality, though existing security concerns mean that “will take some time.”

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