Businesses suffering from vicious circle of funding

Data accuracy ‘continues to be a problem’ for businesses, with cutbacks impacting the bottom line of all departments.

Although there has been a renewed focus from businesses to clean and utilise their data sets, new research has revealed more than nine out of ten companies believe that their customer and prospect data might be inaccurate.

Paired against a recent Gartner survey of global Chief Information Officers (CIOs) which predicts virtually flat global growth of IT budgets, this doesn’t make for very happy reading. Inaccurate data hits the bottom line of all departments in the company, and is part of a vicious circle of funding.

Businesses around the world are cutting back on expenses to cover for weak growth and austerity conditions. This translates into immediate budget cuts from around the business, including the IT department, where the Gartner research highlighted restraints which will have an immediate impact on the level of service provided. But cutting back in the IT department doesn’t lead to savings, and instead becomes another component of a vicious circle.

89 per cent of respondents in a Dynamic Markets report conducted on behalf of Experian QAS said that departmental funds have been wasted owing to data inaccuracy. On average, around 15 per cent of departmental budget is wasted, which increases to 18 per cent in IT and data management departments.

Austerity in the face of adversity may seem prudent, but our research clearly highlights that cutting back in certain areas simply adds to the financial pressures. Implementing and educating staff on data management practices can cut money back and increase efficiency, which I’m sure you will agree, adds more value and long-term benefits for the business.

But in parts, this message may have caught on. The survey also shows that companies are investing in data quality, with the average business surveyed investing £285,349 (AU$442,671) in data quality initiatives in the past year.

What seems to be occurring is that companies are working to liberate their ‘lost’ budgets. Two thirds of respondents have set targets to improve their data accuracy, and 15 per cent of those who participated in the study want to achieve 100 per cent data accuracy.

With only 14 per cent of companies with data accuracy targets below 75 per cent, it is evident that the message is finally touching home with businesses.

So the lesson seems quite simple; Austerity doesn’t necessarily mean cut backs. If companies can achieve value through productivity, then certain areas of expense could pay for themselves.