What are the latest data quality trends & challenges facing organisations globally?

In the last few years, businesses across the UK have come to realise that data management has become a mission-critical concern, regardless of the sector in which they operate. Indeed, as more and more business functions go digital and online revenues continue to grow, it is clear that data quality management is becoming more important than ever before.

To shed some more light, we recently published our annual Global Data Quality Research discussion paper for 2015, which highlighted a number of the key data quality trends that are guiding current efforts to extract the greatest value from business data.

Data is now a strategic asset

Companies are increasingly aware of the fact that data management is not just an issue for IT departments, but a core function that can enhance efficiency, reduce costs and form the basis of better customer engagement. Indeed, more than 90 per cent of those polled are leveraging data and data quality in an attempt to optimise their service user experience.

Data quality is linked to profitability

Chief Information Officers believed their business could increase profits by an average of 15 per cent by maximising the quality of their data. This is not an unfounded assumption – evidence shows that companies with a coordinated approach to data management are generally more profitable, so naturally other firms are keen to share these benefits.

Awareness of data problems is rising

The number of organisations that suspect their data might be inaccurate in some way has increased to 92 per cent – up from 86 per cent last year. This shows that awareness of the business relevance in this area is on the up. Surprisingly, less than a third of companies have data analysis and profiling technology, which begs the question “how do they know how bad things are?”

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Greater data sophistication is needed

Only 26 per cent of companies believe they have the most sophisticated system of data management in place, with most of these being larger businesses. Given the scale and importance of data errors, it is clear that improvement is needed on this front.

Improvement is a top priority for businesses

Although businesses are aware that data quality can be a difficult issue to address, it is clear that most are up for the challenge – in 2015, 84 per cent of companies plan to prioritise the implementation of some kind of data quality solution.

Better ownership structure may be necessary

Almost 63 per cent of organisations lack a coherent, centralised approach to data quality, with many companies reporting a wide variance in strategies between different departments. A more coherent approach could deliver significant savings and greater accountability if there was an enterprise-wide understanding of the importance of data. Of course this needs to be supported by enterprise-wide tools which allow all players to collaborate.

Companies want to maximise the benefits of technology

Although almost 90 per cent of firms have some kind of technology solution for data management in place, it is clear that this is not an area in which it pays to stand still – particularly given that that 70 per cent of companies whose profits rose sharply in 2014 have expressed an intention to invest more during 2015. Clearly, a proactive approach to data quality can pay substantial dividends and it appears the first priority should be understanding, monitoring and reporting on data quality across the organisation.

To get a full view of the research, download the full Global Data Quality Research paper where we discuss the 3 key trends from the research, data sophistication, data ownership and data technology.

If you’ve got additional thoughts on what you see as the challenges that are facing organisations globally, I’d very much like to hear your thoughts.