data hygiene best practices

Data keeps on growing! As our population grows, so does the amount of stored information. We create 2.5 quintillion bytes of data every day. With no clear sign of the growth slowing down, we need to think more about data hygiene best practices than ever before.

This article will explain what data hygiene is and its importance as well as advising on best practices and useful data hygiene tips to implement in your business.

We leave data everywhere. By making payments online, signing up for services, even visiting websites, you are leaving a data trail. Businesses, just as much as everyday consumers, need to take great care of data!

How clean is your corporate data? Let’s explore this idea and what your company can do to improve its data hygiene standards.

Related Product: WinPure Data Cleansing Tool

What Does Data Hygiene Mean?

The database hygiene process refers to how you manage your corporate information. For example, do you file your data in separate databases? Or, do you create data lakes? How often do you check for inaccurate data?

There are two types of data – ‘dirty’ and ‘clean.’ ‘Dirty’ data has no form or organization. It piles up, duplicates, and becomes irrelevant. Is much of your data out of date or hard to access? You need to clean it!

The ‘hygiene’ process is simple but not always taken seriously. Keeping good data hygiene means keeping it clear, concise, and easy to access.

Dirty data across databases costs the US economy $3 trillion per year. The average business is likely to lose significant revenue because of poor data management, too. This may be as much as 12% per year!

Why is Data Hygiene Important?

Data hygiene is not just crucial in terms of saving money. It is hugely vital for corporate reputation, too.

Let’s consider an example. A business with ‘dirty’ data might have outdated contact details. They could send emails or SMS marketing to the wrong people, end up in junk folders, and face blacklisting.

Data cleanliness is also crucial for customers! In healthcare, dirty data may result in misdiagnosis if records are inaccurate. Or it may result in treatment delays. Any time-sensitive service could suffer if its data is of low quality.

Estimates show that, even in 2018, there were around 18 zettabytes of data globally. Other estimates claim this will grow to 175 zettabytes by 2025! That is a colossal amount of data to keep track of.

Related: Master Data Management Guide

Therefore, we should all work hard to clean our data as it grows. Here are the top five data hygiene best practices to manage and maintain a clean business database.

Data Hygiene Best practices

5 best practices for data hygiene

#1 Audit Your Data

Regularly auditing data means you frequently check for problems. You can’t identify solutions without regular audits!

Auditing data can take time. Manually, it is a mountainous task. Data cleansing suites such as WinPure can help to automate your data auditing processes.

As a business owner, you are likely to handle multiple data sources. These sources can pool in siloes. When this occurs, data is harder to organize, leading to errors and the knock-on effects of data impurity discussed above.

It’s a great idea to audit the data you use and need. You may find some data sources clog up your processes. There is simply no need!

Carefully calculating your data’s ROI through auditing can help. Around 27% of company leaders are unclear on their data accuracy. Are you part of that statistic?

Related: Data Accuracy Guide For 2021

#2 Remove Pointless Data

You might find that there is some data you collect that you might not need. Reviewing your data and sources could free up time and resources. The more information you have piling up, the more difficult it is to analyze. It also makes it harder for you to audit your infrastructure.

It is essential to collate data that is relevant to your business and your customers. Prevention of pointless data siloing may be as simple as streamlining your capture forms. Why not ask fewer questions of your customers?

More information may seem useful at the first point of contact, but it can build up and make things more confusing. Some buyers and users may avoid complex forms altogether. Carefully audit your data collection and keep things concise.

Related: Top 10 Master Data Management Benefits

#3 Set Rules and Constraints

Data standardization and consistency are essential! The same applies to all walks of business. For example, your data forms should use consistent formatting and measurement. Consistency helps us to create databases that are easy to measure. You should set up exact, mandatory data requests and ensure no field goes to waste!

Setting data rules can help to weed out unnecessary information capture. Estimates show that around 60% of dirty data traces back to human error. With more transparent constraints, you can reduce human mistakes creating these impurities. Then, automate as much of this process as possible!

#4 Keep Updating Your Data

Keeping data relevant is vital. However, data outdates itself very quickly indeed. No one knows when it will go out of date! That’s why an automated data refresh can help.

However, there are circumstances where we can expect obsolescence. Data updates may be necessary if, for example:

– Customers change address or move home.

– Customers change statuses such as through marriage or divorce.

– Customers will often change email addresses and phone numbers. Estimates show 31% of email data goes obsolete every year!

– Customers will also change job titles and positions. 60% of people in one company, each year, move roles. Around 21% of companies change CEOs annually, too!

Failure to update information means you will be unable to reach customers. This is a waste of money, as well as frustrating for users.

Find Out More About WinPure Data Quality Tool

#5 Use Data Cleaning Tools

Data hygiene tools can help to automate the process of maintaining precise, useful data. It doesn’t have to be complicated or time-consuming! As mentioned, human error can account for a vast amount of dirty data for companies.

A professional data cleaning tool can help you to analyze problem areas. What’s more, it will take away strenuous manual research. WinPure Clean & Match, for example, can help to correlate your data and ensure it is relevant, up to date, and always accessible. If you already notice it getting difficult to source clear, relevant information, it may be time to clean things up.

Need help managing your data? Unsure about data hygiene best practices? Reach out to WinPure today for bespoke support.

By Darren Wall | March 10th, 2021 | Posted in Data Hygiene

About Darren Wall

Darren Wall is a Content Consultant at WinPure. Combining his 20+ Years' experience in content production, Darren enjoys delivering high-quality, high-impact content for our niche target audience of technical experts and business executives.

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