A Quick Checkup on the Health of Your Data


Making the case for improved data quality is not a hard sell - no company wants to constantly re-key data or send customer communication to dead email addresses. But shops large and small continue to struggle with the quality of their data; about 90 percent of U.S. businesses said they are worried about the quality of their data in a recent survey, and another study showed that as much as 25 percent of master data is incomplete. (Our Loraine Lawson extensively covers data quality issues in her blog.)


The Data Quality Health Check Tool, from our partners at Info~Tech Research Group, will help you quickly gauge the current state of your data. The tool is available for free download here in the IT Downloads library.


The Excel-based tool asks you to rate the accuracy of 15 statements in these key areas:

  • Data Duplication Symptoms
  • Stale Data Symptoms
  • Incomplete Data Systems
  • Invalid Data Symptoms
  • Data Conflict Symptoms


Simply rate each of the statements on a scale of 1-5, as you can see in the image below.



The statements touch on a wide range of issues, including system design and staff comfort level with the accuracy of your data. The statements include:


  • Our systems do not attempt to stop a user from adding new records that are duplicates.
  • A lot of the most valuable data is lost in the notes fields.
  • There are complaints about reports compiled from two different users on the "same" data report with different figures.


Based on your responses, the tool rates the overall health of your data and gives you action recommendations. If it turns out that your data health is in "serious" condition, recommendations include establishing "data steward" positions on your team and enforcing strong data validation at the form and database level.


Before you embark on a quest for perfect data, however, we suggest you read a recent blog post from Loraine, called "Adding Common Sense to Data Quality." If an occasional lost note field, for example, is not going to seriously skew your key aggrative reports, you may well be able to live with a little imperfection.

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