From customer information to risk assessment, the endless stream of data is affecting the way we do business. This, however, means that acting on quality information is more important than ever before.
What is data integrity?
In today’s data-driven business landscape – where most decisions are dependent on relevant information – it can be disastrous to rely on bad, incorrect or corrupt data.
In a worst-case scenario, bad information can lead to mistakes being made, loss of profits, missed opportunities, and it can even be a hindrance to future business growth.
Luckily, there is an antidote to all of this – namely data integrity. This is the term used to describe the accuracy and consistency status of information over its life cycle. Ensuring that you have data integrity involves the use of proper data acquisition protocols, the right maintenance procedures, and secure storage facilities to avoid contamination of data degradation.
These days, businesses of all sizes must analyze and leverage thousands of data points in their ERP. This means that the importance of data integrity is rarely felt more than in a company’s ERP system, which is where most of your critical business data are gathered and stored. But how can you ensure data integrity in 2019?
Well, let’s start with these points:
You see, these are the three main components of data integrity. And, of course, they can have a significant impact on the efficiency of your ERP solution. But what exactly do they all refer to?
Firstly, accuracy is crucial when it comes to dealing with company data. After all - if your data is inaccurate, what’s the point of collecting it in the first place? Secondly, your ERP will also be highly dependent on the consistency of your data points. In other words, software solutions and business intelligence tools depend on consistent data across the board in order to provide more accurate data sets to business users and decision-makers. An example of this can be the proper capitalization of names, punctuation placement, abbreviations, and so on – if these are standardized, every ERP module will be able to accurately identify and correlate all data being gathered.
Inconsistent data leaves databases vulnerable to all kinds of errors, including duplication, which is arguably one of the most common occurrences in large databases.
Should I care about data integrity?
Well, of course you should!
Digital information is comparable to a fast-moving river. Streaming in without a stop, the data is varied and virtually unlimited – and finding useful information can be a challenging endeavor for anyone.
However, without integrity, the data you actually harvest will be of little use to anyone. You see, data is far from static – you don’t just obtain it, store it and that’s it. There are plenty of things that can happen to your data during its lifetime, and it’s essential that you continuously keep it up to date.
Without proper data integrity, most businesses will be unable to confidently allocate their resources correctly. For example, inconsistent or inaccurate data entries can result in conflicting insights across ERP modules. This can make it unnecessary challenging to make the appropriate business decision – or to identify which growth hacking strategies or marketing campaigns you should rely on in order to achieve your goals. Essentially, data integrity allows you to gain a better understanding of your target market – and which needs your services must fill. Without data, you’re basically just guessing.
Maintaining integrity is now becoming more important than ever before. Especially as many businesses now opt to buy data from third-party vendors to feed their ERP systems rather than harvesting themselves. This is a practice we don’t recommend here at Pursuit. Firstly, it’s hard to know how much quality contacts the list contains without testing it. And, secondly, this is of course risky business in our post-GDPR world.
Additionally, there are things that purchased data simply cannot tell you. For example, customer satisfaction is a key factor in the success of any business, especially considering the level of competition most businesses are facing these days. While buying data is one thing, it’s unlikely to tell you anything you need to know about your customers’ opinion of your services. In comparison, obtaining customer feedback by ways of surveys and other forms of customer interaction can provide you with valuable insights into how your client-base feels about your particular brand or services.
Ensuring the accuracy of key performance indicators and other forms of data metrics is another reason why data integrity is crucial in ERP solutions. With strong reporting capabilities, ERP allows decision-makers to access a wide variety of information from multiple data points by consolidating all relevant information into readable dashboards.
But, without proper data integrity in place, you can’t fully trust the reports in your ERP.