Show me the money – how inaccurate data is wasting organisational budget

As music legends ABBA once famously sang ‘money, money, money, must be funny, in a rich man’s world,’ many organisations would be alarmed to read just how much of their budget is being wasted through inaccurate data records.

Experian’s latest research points to the frightening fact that on average, 15 per cent of departmental budgets have been wasted due to contact data inaccuracies. For marketers things are even more grim, with at least a quarter (25%) of marketing budgets lost through inaccurate data in their databases.

The value of customer data to a company is a difficult thing to quantify. How do you measure data as an asset if at the point of entry you cannot easily determine its future value? When assessing the value – do you calculate the number of unsuccessful communications due to out-dated or incorrect customer information?

The answer to all these questions can be summed up in two words – missed opportunities. The most effective way to see the impact that inaccurate contact data has on an organisation’s bottom line is to look at the opportunities missed owing to an inability to target customers and personalise campaigns. Poor data can result in irrelevant and mis-targeted communications which can ultimately damage your brand.

As the table below shows, the education sector had the highest average percentage of budget wasted (17%) because of data inaccuracies.

Table 1: Average percentage of budget wasted by sector

Education Financial services Other services Retail & distribution Utilities & telecoms Manufacturing & automotive Other public sector & not-for-profit
17% 16% 16% 15% 15% 13% 12%

But what is the impact of this wasted budget on the education system?

As we know, schools and education institutions are amongst the most cash-strapped sectors in Australia with information being one of the most important tools for education decision makers. Having the right information can help them spend taxpayer’s money more effectively, allocate staff appropriately, and measure the effectiveness of investments made. But if education industries are wasting their precious dollars on mis-information due to inaccurate data capture, their ability to campaign for more government funding is severely hampered.  In knowing this, it’s surprising to hear that 64 per cent of education organisations admit that they do not even know how much of their departmental budget is going to waste owing to data inaccuracies.

The insight provided by accurate data records should not be underestimated. The success and relevancy of all communications within an organisation hinges on the accuracy of the contact data in its database. Organisations have a lot to gain by improving their data management process.

Our research highlights the results that organisations in the USA and Singapore have managed to achieve by upgrading the processes surrounding their data management. For example, four per cent of USA respondents and eight per cent from Singapore say that over $500,000 of extra profit has been generated because of their decision to more tightly manage their data processes upgrade. This is a significant amount of money to any organisation, regardless of the sector in which they operate.

If money makes the world go round, we have to keep the wheels well-oiled and for organisations, this means getting the data accurate.