In this digital age where technology and software solutions gather and track billions of pieces of information, data is king. Data provides detailed information on which business can base decisions and it enables them to provide their customers with personalised tailored experiences.
However, as organisations increase investment in the technology for data collection and processing, there is no parity of time and resources those same businesses put towards data management and governance.
Bad data is bad business
While businesses fast-track their digital business and eCommerce efforts, they need to ensure they are using the right data. If you are working with bad data, you’re going to get bad results. When it comes to bad data there are three keywords to help you identify it:
Just because you have collected the data does not mean it is useful to your business.
A key cause of inaccuracies and a storage burden, duplicated data is at the root of inconsistencies and disparities.
Data is out-of-date, obsolete and needs regular data management.
Warning signs of bad data
There are many tell-tale signs across all areas of the business that suggest you are using bad data. Here are a few of the indicators you are using bad data:
- There are multiple versions of reports on your servers and no two departments are working from the same information
- Month end numbers don’t add up and the finance team must manually sift through paperwork looking for human errors and data inaccuracies
- CRM information is incorrect or outdated and you have inconsistent formats used when entering data, such as client information and contact details
- Inventory control is out of control with constant stock-outs and inventory waste
- Barcodes don’t match numbers in the computer system
- Vendor data and pricing information is manually synched and not accurate across all systems
- Supplier management takes too long, impacting efficiencies and costs
- No understanding of who your suppliers are, and orders are sent to the wrong place
- More time is spent fixing problems than analysing and using data to improve your inventory control and customer service
If you are experiencing any or a number of these issues, then it is time to take stock. To maximise the value of data and analytics you need the right tools to get true insights into your organisation.
Good data management needs to be part of your regular business processes to deliver consistency and accountability in data governance and to prepare your data for analytics.
Once data management solutions are in place, they should be employed through centralised data storage that allows data migration and integration from multiple sources. With a single holistic view of your data, you are able to create accurate reports and dashboards, that are consistent throughout the organisation.
Good data is good business
To derive value from the information you collect, high volumes of data require cleansing, validation, non-duplication, and regular auditing. When it comes to good data there are three key words to remember:
Data produces similar results under consistent conditions, are accurate, reproducible and consistent.
Data will always show variation, but the question is whether the variation is routine or is unexpected, indicating that something unusual is happening.
Quality data that is both accurate and useful.
Clean, accurate data is important because exceptional customer service experiences rely on quality data to ensure your messaging targets the right customers, at the right time. Customer data that is not maintained or becomes out-of-date leads to missed opportunities and can also have a negative effect on inventory control.
Imagine that your sales and marketing teams are using bad data from client information to predict future sales demand. Inventory control is affected because outdated client data means that you may potentially overstock or understock an item based on bad data. An even worse scenario is that you order in the wrong type or style of product that then becomes hard to move or obsolete.
Online inventory management solutions that integrate with other cloud-based business systems help to provide clean, relevant data in real time to enhance marketing and promotional activities.
With smart data management and effectual data governance, supported by centralised data storage, businesses can achieve fully data-driven operations. Enabling them to make intelligent and valuable business decisions.
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.