Get it Right the First Time

Blog Administrator | Address Quality, Analyzing Data, Analyzing Data Quality, Data Quality | , , , , ,

By Elliot King

Every database will inevitably contain some unwanted data. There are just so many sources of bad data that it isn’t possible to safeguard against all of them. The inexorable decay of data due to life itself–people move, marry, change jobs and so on. This means that data quickly becomes inaccurate, incomplete and frequently, useless.

But that doesn’t mean that organizations are helpless to maintain high data quality. One of the most significant steps organizations can take is to proactively ensure that the data initially captured is correct the first time. 

Often, the steps that have the biggest impact on data quality are the simplest. Despite increasing automation, much information continues to be entered manually often through web forms. With manual input comes human error. Misspelled names, entering an old zip code after a recent move, miss-typing a phone number. It’s also possible to select the wrong entry from a drop down menu or place the correct information into the wrong box.

Four simple steps can help cut down on those kinds of mistakes. For internal data entry, training is essential and people must be given enough time to maintain high standards. Too often, the desire to increase productivity–have more data entered quickly–results in more mistakes.

For data entered both internally and externally, organizations must attend to form design. There is both an art and a science to form design and good design guides the user as they enter data with an intuitive layout.

The next two steps include the development of strong metadata combined with real-time validation tools. With strong metadata definitions, organizations are able to constrain information that may be entered into a field. Real-time validation identifies errors before they enter the database.

These commonsense procedures can be easily implemented by most organizations.If you would like to learn more about data cleansing solutions, please visit our website