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Why it’s time to give your data a ‘health check’ Simon Rolph, CEO and Founder of Such Sweet Thunder

It’s difficult to get your head around why your data needs a health check. After all, your data is fundamentally an inanimate object. Essentially it doesn’t exist in physical form. It’s not like taking your car for an MOT, or going to the doctors for check up if you’re unwell.

However, your data is capable of being unhealthy. Similarly to the prior examples of a car or human body, if it is unhealthy it doesn’t perform its functions to the best of its ability – and the same can be said for a business’ data.

How to make your data a ‘healthy’ specimen

Looking at this subject in terms of wider business, or a ‘real life scenario’, surveys show that 25% of an average database’s records are inaccurate, and 60% rate the overall health of their data as ‘unreliable’. Essentially, this is a proof point that bad data is rife, but businesses are ill-equipped to deal with it and improve their data health.

To work out how to make your data healthy, we must first determine what healthy data actually is. In basic terms, healthy data is data that is the best possible quality to perform its given function. As a critical component of your business, a healthy database is vital to staff efficiency and customer satisfaction. If you’ve neglected database maintenance and tuning, chances are you’re running into numerous levels of performance issues.

There are a number of ways to make your data healthy and several steps that you may look to follow to ensure your data is fit for purpose.

The first step is taking measures to ensure that your data is the right data. Every department of your business or organisation might need different data to achieve its goals, and the same data won’t do the job for every person. Making sure the data you have is the best fit for achieving your goals in the first step to giving your data a health check. In the same sense, it’s also vital to make sure your data comes from a credible source, and comes from reputable research. It’s also critical to make sure that not only is your source reputable, but that it’s offering you everything you need to be successful. Not all data suppliers offer the same depth or breadth of service, so being sure you’re backing the ‘right horse’ it imperative.

After you’ve ensured that the types of data you’re collecting are the most effective, you need to look into your data collection process. It’s vital that you ensure you’re not getting any data repeats, and that what you’re collecting is still valid to your cause. Data repeats will skew your results, and will ultimately lead to inaccurate and potentially damagingly inaccurate results. In the same sense, you want to want to make sure your data is valid, and that it has the capabilities to perform the jobs you want it to do.

Widening the net from data repeats, it is worth assessing whether there are any regular errors or inconsistencies that occur within your data collection, or if there are any gaps in the data. Assessing whether there are any regular errors or inconsistencies will help you to streamline your data collection process, saving valuable time and money, whilst also increasing accuracy and making your data more effective.

Shifting from ‘just healthy’ to ‘most effective’

Looking at healthy data is important, but the next step is to take that healthy data and make it effective. It’s important for businesses to not only operate with healthy data, but to look at how it can help you to take your business to the next level. Ultimately, the goal is to make your data collection process the most efficient and effective that it can be and, in turn, that can help to streamline other parts of your business.

Now more than ever

It’s more important now than ever before to have healthy data, and make sure it’s effective for the purpose it’s intended to fill. Data is becoming an ever more important part of business management, and now validation of decisions is part and parcel of making choices in business. Making sure this data is healthy and fit for purpose is vital for making the best and most informed decisions, and following the healthy data protocols will help you to keep your data in the best possible shape for as long as possible.

Such Sweet Thunder

2018