Better Business Intelligence: 3 Techniques to Improve Data Quality

In today’s data-driven world, possessing reliable data is critical. Having dabbled in several business intelligence (BI) projects over the past few years, I’ve become a stickler for clean data. Once BI teams begin aggregating data from various silos in the organization, they quickly wish they had validation in place to make their lives easier. After reading All Analytics blog, I was inspired to share a few ideas on how 3rd party data you can enhance your BI.

3 techniques to improve data quality and enhance BI:

1. Enhance web-form validation: When creating a web form—either for account sign-up, filling out surveys, or lead forms—put in place validation rules that ensure you’re storing normalized data. For example, when gathering addresses, look for a data provider that will normalize addresses into a standardized format (CASS certified in the U.S.). Additionally, using 3rd party verification services, such has Whitepages Pro Identity Check compares the name, phone number, address, email, and more to be sure the data entry is a real identity (no more Mickey Mouse at 123 Main Street). This will ensure data is consistent, so you can focus on analysis and not clean up. 

2. Implement regular CRM cleaning: Updating CRM data is a never-ending process. According to the 2007 Census Study, the average person is expected to move 11.7 times in their lifetime. It’s important to have a process that updates addresses on a consistent basis, so you have the most up-to-date information. Additionally, duplicate records plague all CRMs, as CRM data is funneled from various users and departments. There are services available, such as RingLead and DupeCatcher that integrate with CRMs to search for duplicate records while inputting data. These services will save you time and effort and eliminate duplicates from the outset. 

3. Use mobile phones as the customer identifier: Industry trends suggest companies are moving toward mobile phone numbers as the key identifier, rather than email addresses. The challenge with email verification is that there are an unlimited number of email addresses available, making it difficult to weed out bad customer sign-ups, adding a lot of noise to your data and making it impossible to monitor KPIs (i.e. conversions, referrals, etc.).

According to the Digital Marketing Depot’s 2014 report, U.S. smartphone penetration will reach 95% by 2018; that’s up from 72% today. That means that the majority of customers will be able to verify their identity during sign-up on their smartphone. By requiring a mobile phone number during sign-up, BI teams will have clean data and more demographic information (e.g., phone metadata, name, address and more) to glean from their user records than just an email. 

There are many techniques that can be used to improve the quality of data in an organization. Starting with web-form validation, regular CRM cleanups, and modifying the way you identify or verify your customers will give you a head start to improving your data quality, and lead to better BI.

Learn more about Pro Identity Check.

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