Not all data is created equal. Although it can be informative and helpful to your business, poor quality data can also drag you down. It’s important to keep on top of the data and to make sure it’s working to your advantage.
Good quality data can help your business look at market trends, cultivate satisfactory customer experiences and encourage efficiencies throughout the business. When you are working with good data, it can be the differentiating point between you and a competitor. It can influence overarching business decisions and shape the direction of marketing campaigns.
So, how do you ensure that the data you’re using is good enough for your business? We’ll go through five ways to enhance your data quality to make sure you get the best results possible.
Automatically validate your data
One of the best ways to create good quality data is to automatically validate it. This means having the system scan for missing, inconsistent and unanticipated information. Make sure all of the formulas are working and the calculations aren’t broken. This will give you consistency and reassurance that your data is one step closer to being better quality.
Minimise the use of free-form text
Try and decrease the amount of free-form text in your system. This included names, addresses, short descriptions and notes. Let’s say you’re tracking inventory stock. Rather than writing out the wetsuit vendor and style of wetsuit in free-text, give the wetsuit vendor a code like 501 and the style 443. So when you are tracking inventory stock, it would be coded to 501.443 rather than having free form text of the name and style. Your inventory stock data will be in a better place because human spelling error will be decreased. This will enhance search function accuracy. For instance, someone could spell wetsuit correctly, but type it out wet-suit, using a hyphen instead of one word.
Amalgamate your software systems
If you have a variety of systems tracking your data, it’s relatively likely that these will get mixed up and give you unsatisfactory data. One of the best tactics to improving data quality is to consolidate all of your data. Bring all of your systems into a single programme or better yet, consider moving to cloud-based systems that integrate with each other. That way it’s easier to control and track what’s going in and what’s out of your system.
Put one person in charge
If anyone can make changes in your data software, chances are that they will also make mistakes on your data software. Instead of having your software completely open to everyone, put one administrator in charge of the database. They will have the overarching power to make changes and the data becomes their responsibility. If anyone wants to make changes in the system, they need to get it approved by the nominated administrator.
Run regular reports
Reports are a consistent measure to ensure the reliability of the data. If you have a base measure of reports that you conduct on a regular basis, you can compare these and see if there are any outliers or unexpected pieces of information in the data.
Article by Melanie Chan in collaboration with our team of Unleashed Software inventory and business specialists. Melanie has been writing about inventory management for the past three years. When not writing about inventory management, you can find her eating her way through Auckland.