Every business today relies on data to make strategic decisions. But, have you ever wondered how reliable and accurate your customer database is? A report published by Experian concludes that 93% of business leaders acknowledge that data is instrumental for a company’s success. However, 66% of those lack a proper understanding of how to achieve superior data quality.

Big Data equips organizations with deep insights about their current as well as potential clientele. But, Big Data has a fundamental flaw – dirty data. Customers are creating a formidable amount of data each day, but not all of it is accurate and usable. Bad data manifests in the form of duplicates and inaccuracies and can severely misguide marketing campaigns as well as future business strategies.

If you want to gain Intel on your customers, perform regular data audits! Raw and unstructured data confuses your sales and marketing teams, which ultimately hampers your company’s revenue streams. According to a report published by IBM, bad data costs the US economy around $3.1 trillion annually. This staggering financial loss is preventable through data auditing.

What Is a Data Audit?

Data is audited to measure its quality and utility for specific purposes. While auditing data, businesses focus on certain key metrics to derive conclusions about the properties of a particular database. A database’s origin, creation, and format come under review during this process. Data auditing also ensures that sensitive data is protected and is compliant with HIPPA, SOX, PCI, and other regulatory bodies.

Is Performing a Data Audit Difficult?

Is-Performing-a-Data-Audit-Difficult-SPAN

In theory, no! A data audit is not that hard to perform. However, the size of your customer database will rightly define this process’s ease or difficulty. Your company’s exercise in data auditing must be able to answer the following questions –

  • What is the nature of the data we are collecting?
  • Where are we storing that data?
  • What is our data documentation method?
  • What measures should be taken to keep data secure?
  • For how long do we want to use an active data set before archiving it?
  • What is the process for deleting duplicate or incomplete data?

You may have other questions to put on this list but these six questions are at the very foundation of conducting a data audit.

Why Should You Perform a Data Audit?

Think of data auditing as a reality check to know just how good or bad your database is. Another study by IBM revealed that 27% of businesses happen to be unaware of their data’s quality and accuracy. Most companies rely on data to deploy new offerings and corresponding marketing campaigns. Therefore, maintaining data hygiene through regular data audits is of primary importance. Listed below are the key advantages of meticulous data auditing –

Know Your Customers and Competitors

Data that is audited provides true insights into who your customers are and what they want. With the help of good data, you can create highly engaging campaigns that increase your marketing ROI. Audited data also provides valuable information about your competitors, their growth curve, and successful product or service strategies. For instance, data can allow you to increase your market share by offering an insight into the marketing and sales strategy of your rival who may be leading the market.

Get Rid of Manual Errors

Data is always at a higher risk when inputted manually. According to a study, these errors can be as high as 10% within each mailing database. This is a significant percentage that adversely impacts data quality. Therefore, timely auditing of data can bring this number down by 10%. Automatic data auditing algorithms can continuously flag previously committed human errors so that they can be rectified.

Offer Personalized Customer Service

A loyal customer comes to expect a certain level of personalization when interacting with a familiar brand. It is then the brand’s responsibility to remain sensitive towards the preferences of its most profitable customers. An incorrect database reduces the quality of customer care services by getting their names, addresses, and preferences wrong. Imagine such a client reaching out to your customer service team that has an incorrect idea of which target segment they belong to. How will the team efficiently sort their problem out? Audited data means a more effective and improved customer service that eventually increases customer happiness and loyalty.

Top Tip

Create an audit trail, meaning, a chronological record of the source as well as the destination of data. This trail acts as documentary evidence for the sequence of all data-related activities. An audit trail enables businesses to –

  • Keep a track of the modifications made
  • Ensures transparency and end-to-end integrity of data-related activities
  • Monitor database activities of all users
  • Keep a tab on edits and updates made to data

An audit trail helps maintain and monitor the quality and consistency of data. With the present-day automation advancements, creating an audit trail is not that hard.

Over to You

It is important to know that companies must refrain from collecting data just for the sake of it. For instance, if you have gathered countless birth dates that do not influence your marketing strategies and other business decisions, get rid of them. Focus your time and efforts into developing a framework by identifying the type of data most useful for your brand. Spot and place data within categories that have the potential to generate and convert leads.

Collecting too much information creates a data overload and also exacerbates the potential for dirty data, which is considered a silent killer for sales and marketing departments. Audit relevant data only! Additionally, identify the source of outdated, incorrect, and duplicate data that is costing your company exorbitant amounts of money. Data auditing is a sure-shot way to ensure the success of your data-led marketing strategies.

Author - Debottam Dutta
Debottam Dutta Author at Span Global Services Debottam Dutta, is the VP for Business Development at Span Global Services. A technology geek with deep industry knowledge, Debottam has championed the B2B data space and enabled double digit growth for global tech enterprises. His business models have inspired partners globally to embrace data-driven partnerships. Over the last eight years he has built a reputation for developing the best business strategies, incubating new business models and expanding partner channels world-wide.

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