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In this recent release from MarketWire (via MarketWatch), a Kalido (a provider of business-driven data governance solutions) survey is mentioned that included a startling statistic: “75% of respondents said they have no means to raise issues with bad data they encounter in their day to day jobs.”

Wait, What?

Having bad data is bad enough. Not even having a way to report bad data is inexcusable. Yet it happens all the time. How many workplaces do you know that has no easy way to flag data errors? A lot of this has to do with the data management system in place, of course. If you’re using Excel (and don’t get us started on that) for all your data, what do you do? Highlight cells with data errors? Research/review as you go? Hire an intern to scrub your data?

Finding a “N/A” that should be a “0,” finding a contract’s missing start date, finding a wrong decimal point; these are the tasks that are painful. They’re small enough to ignore, but they eventually add up and wreak havoc on your business intelligence. The Data Warehousing Institute estimated in 2008 that “the cost of bad or ‘dirty’ data exceeds $600 billion annually.” Was your mind boggled? It should have been.

Data Quality Monitoring

Your company shouldn’t be losing money and productivity over data errors. That is why we suggest making data quality a Key Performance Indicator. Once you make clean data a priority to your employees, it immediately becomes an asset, not a liability. But this means having a venue for your workers to report the data errors that they come across. Be it a separate database or a forum, have a place where data errors can be logged, so they can be addressed in a timely manner.

Better yet, automate data quality monitoring with InsightSquared and never worry again.

Samuel Clemens
Sam is founder and chief of product & marketing for InsightSquared. Previously, Sam was VP Product at HubSpot, VP Product at BzzAgent, and on the founding team at Elance.com. His background also includes venture capital with Greylock Partners, the Algorithms group at Amazon.com, and management consulting with Booz Allen Hamilton. Sam has an MBA from Harvard Business School and a B.S. in Applied Math from Yale. In his off time he dives shipwrecks in the New England area.
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