Awareness of poor-quality data is growing in companies across a number of key markets, according to new research. 

An Experian survey of 1,239 organisations in the UK, France, Germany, Spain, Australia and the US show that 92% are suspicious about the overall quality of their data, up from 86% last year. 

There was evidence of this having an impact on external communications, as 90% were found to be using data to improve the relevancy of the messages they send to customers.  

A further 95% said they use data to better understand what their customers want to see, while chief information officers answering to the survey said they could use quality data to boost their profits by an average of 15%. 

But with 90% of the groups admitting that improving the quality of their data represented a challenge, this problem is unlikely to disappear over the next 12 months.  

A need for simplicity 

While data quality can be improved through a variety of methods, the study did highlight a number of clear issues with how groups were set-up to collect and handle their information.

For one, the majority of the group (63%) admitted to lacking a “coherent, centralised approach” to data quality. Only 35% were found to be trusting their data management with a single director, which could be why 51% have departments that have their own strategy for handling information.  

Experian used these figures to construct a table showing the differences between a company that had their data under control and one that was “unaware” about their issues. 

Perhaps anticipating a crossroads at some of the companies involved, Boris Huard, MD at Experian Data Quality, said that companies need to be asking themselves about why they’re collecting certain information and what it can be used for.

“Of course, putting automated systems in place makes a big difference and will clearly reduce errors. However, the effectiveness of any system depends on how you use it,” he commented.

“You will need the right processes and people in place to manage it – not just in IT, but in business roles where it really matters.”

Experian’s report also highlights the importance of CDOs – or chief data officers – which can help companies solve some of the complexity surrounding their data.