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Why Data Integrity Is Crucial for Your Business

ByBusiness.com Contributor,
business.com writer
|
Nov 24, 2019
Image Credit: BongkarnThanyakij / Getty Images
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Follow these four tips to ensure quality and reliability with your company's data.

  • Data is any information used to inform your business decisions.
  • Data must be accurate to ensure appropriate decision making.
  • Companies can use the four ideas below to help ensure data integrity.
  • Numerous resources and programs are available to assist with the appropriate management of data.

Everyone is bombarded by data daily. But data is also crucial to the effective operation of any business.

What is data?

Data can refer to the following:

  • Information gathered for referrals or analysis
  • Information that informs thinking and decision-making processes

For instance, business data could include the number of products a company sold in its northern region in the first business quarter. These numbers can help leaders in your organization make future business decisions.

Why is data (and its integrity) so important?

Data integrity refers to the quality and reliability of data, including the preservation, precision and consistency of data. When the information at hand is reliable, business owners and executives can make suitable choices, which contributes to the overall success of the business.

In fact, the best everyday decisions are made using real-time data. This lets you have a pulse on your business's efficiency in the marketplace and on the performance of your competition.

But many business managers are concerned about the quality of their organizations' data. According to a study from KPMG, only about 35% of executives reported a high level of trust in their business data. When asked why they don't trust the data, more than 60% of C-suite executives blamed technology or automated processes. And more than 90% of the executives surveyed said bad data could negatively impact branding and reputation.

How to ensure data integrity

Now that you understand why data integrity is so valuable for companies, it's time to learn how to achieve it. When stakeholders and executives are confident in their data, they can move forward more aggressively with plans and growth.

Most big companies gather data through numerous approaches, including the following:

  • Company websites
  • Back-end databases
  • Client relationship management (CRM) systems
  • Enterprise resource planning (ERP) systems

Plenty of companies use a combination of these data-collection methods. But what can you do to ensure data integrity? Here are some ideas:

  • Management: Make sure your business's management understands the significant role data integrity plays in your daily operations.
  • Delegation: Assign clear functions and duties to ensure everyone takes responsibility in maintaining data integrity. 
  • Systems, processes and screening: Front- and back-end systems are mostly responsible for data collection, but you also need a process to establish how data is being entered into these systems. Most companies use workflow diagrams that show data input and output and all of the changes that might occur in between.
  • Policies: Many companies are now establishing and executing policies demanding the regular examination of data. One common practice is to create data-integrity reports that focus on data disparities in systems and processes. Such reports can help companies proactively address data issues.

Data-management needs vary widely by organization, so it's important to consider your own needs when choosing resources. Services and solutions in this space range from simple, cloud-based data warehouses to complex AI software that handles much of the day-to-day data management for you. Here are a few options to consider:

1. Digital Guardian

Digital Guardian helps you keep data safe from a variety of threats. It safeguards against inappropriate access by both outside, malicious attacks and inadvertent disclosures. The service lets you keep track of who accessed your data and what they did with it. The benefits are that you can respond quickly to breaches and you can ensure stakeholders that reports are drawn from data that was not altered in inappropriate ways.

2. Varonis Data Classification System

Varonis offers a variety of data-management solutions, including a classification system that automatically identifies sensitive information. For organizations that have multiple levels of access, this can significantly reduce the resources needed to safeguard information while keeping data available for appropriate business use.

3. Explorance Organizational Surveys

It's not always about protecting the data. Sometimes, you need a way to gather accurate data and analyze it for decision-making purposes. Explorance offers just one of the solutions in this space via its Blue survey software. This software is designed to poll people within your organization, and you can use it to survey between 100 and 200,000 people.

4. Panoply Data Management Tools

Most organizations collect data from a variety of sources, including marketing surveys, industry reports and internal sales figures. With data located in disparate places, and likely different formats, it can be difficult to get a clear, big-picture analysis. Panoply was designed to collect and combine disparate data, housing it in a single, catch-all warehouse that can be queried for analytical purposes.

5. Ataccama ONE Smart Data Curation Platform

If you want to go a step further with automated data collection and curation, Ataccama ONE is a platform that brings data together and offers analysis guidance via smart profiling. You can get cloud-based, on-premises and desktop versions of this solution. Companies worldwide that are known for their data-based processes use this platform.

Whether you opt for a resource from this list, find another software program that meets your needs or decide to develop something in-house, if your data isn't accurate and timely, your business will suffer. So take the necessary steps today to ensure data integrity is a high priority for your company.

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