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The Value of Data Quality 

A company’s success can be measured by the efficiency of the data it possesses. Analysts and decision makers rely on its accuracy and relevance to make sure that people are reached and their needs are met.

In this digitally transformed economy, data is deemed as gold, as the financial and reputational significance it has is priceless.

This article discusses data quality, its impact and its implications.

The causes of bad data

In the e-commerce setting, businesses require a basic level of data accuracy to be able to function. Inconsistencies in data undermine production and fuel poor decisions. The right things don’t end up reaching the right people, service delivery is impacted and needless costs are borne.

Flawed data can be the result of unintentional or deliberate actions. Unintentionally, they could be entered by employees or customers at the input stage. Experian identified a large group of customers making errors when inputting data into business systems. In Thailand and Vietnam, this number went up as high as 85%, with Indonesia and India right behind. And though the error may have originated from the customer and not the supplier, it affects the latter the most. If an organisation identifies its data as inaccurate, it must be recollected and rectified as soon as possible.

Wrong information is also often deliberately entered. For example, when consumer services are free and downloadable — as opposed to items purchased and delivered — the tendency is to provide fictitious identities. Research shows that 5% of respondents in the Asia-Pacific region intentionally entered inaccurate information to businesses and suppliers. This peaked in Japan at 8%, closely followed by Australia, New Zealand and Hong Kong.

If a business seems to have vast amounts of false information sent consistently, it may be that people don’t trust them with the capacity to safeguard their information. They would do well to review their privacy policy and the way it is communicated. When data management methods conform to high standards of privacy and security, individuals are less likely to submit information they know to be false.

The costs of bad data

IBM estimated that poor data quality cost American businesses 3.1 Trillion every year. Gartner recorded a cost of 15 million USD, on average, per organisation. While these numbers are staggering, it’s not just about the cost — employee productivity is being stifled and valuable hours are going to waste. Forrester reports that almost a third of analysts spend over 40% of their time validating analytics data before it can be used.

We know that bad data means big problems. So where do businesses go from here?

1. The root cause

Human entry is the primary reason flawed information exists. What if there was no typing, transcribing, scanning and copying? Automated data capture and verification can make this possible. Solutions that apply the Optical Character Recognition (OCR) software and comprehensive verification sources deliver data as required, when required, the very first time.

2. The single-click trick

Shopping online should be an experience, not a burden. As customers approach the check-out page, their sense of ease and excitement must remain intact. But online forms get in the way. They’re the leading cause for abandonment rates, forcing people to ditch their carts and head for the exit. It was discovered that 27% of a survey group more than 500-strong, abandoned forms altogether on account of their length.

It’s simple — the more the fields on a form, the higher the likelihood of mistakes, deliberate or not. Single-click onboarding solutions are the answer. They eliminate the need for forms and transfer clean information seamlessly, just as required.

3. The trust factor

Consumer trust is cultivated when data-driven businesses assert their stance on privacy and security as a priority. The ones that do, have a better competitive standing in the digital landscape.

The Kantara Initiative has set standards on transacting ethically in the digital age. Consent Receipts are one such example — whenever their personal information is requested, customers get a receipt or a record of the data they have agreed to share. Businesses can leverage this as a key tool of trust in online trade.

Information is the lifeblood of every enterprise, impacting its growth and its goals. New technology and the innovative solutions available now, empower businesses to optimise the quality of their data, so they can contribute to a safer, healthier digital economy.