As organisations get more systems and tools with more innovative ways to collect data, data management has entered into a new age of challenges. We call it the reconciliation era.
My grandfather was a bank manager and a very attentive one. He spent many weekends reviewing his books when the accounts were just a few pennies out. Why do all that work for only a few pennies?
Because, he would say, the error shows that something is wrong and missing. 1p out in your final accounts could be £1m one way and £1m & 1p the other.
Common conflicting data results
Over the years we have seen many similar challenges with data accuracy within the business community. It’s not uncommon for:
- Organisations to see a different level of orders in Google Analytics compared to their order systems.
- Different teams having fundamental differences in definitions such as what constitutes “Active customers” and how many the business currently has.
- Organisations, like shopping centres, reliant on several third party data sources; which in turn show conflicting views of customer activity.
- Research outcomes which show a result that does not tie in with other known outcomes.
Recalibrating the data collection process
In each of these cases, when called in to help, we always start by looking at the data collection process. We look to see and ensure that each piece of data is collected in a methodical and accurate manner.
In some cases there are or should be known differences, for example:
- Google Analytics may only track if someone opts into cookies. If not, there may be a shortfall.
- With research, or when using third party tools, the results may be reflective of a slightly different audience.
With that deeper understanding of the data quality, we can then look to extrapolate results.
This process is called stratification. It ensures that the profile of two data sets is the same, or provides a weighting of results to ensure that results are fair.
Embracing the reconciliation era
The outcomes are more accurate data which you can rely on in decision-making. The process also avoid errors in data quality inflating and distorting results further over time.
And who wants to base their organisation’s decisions on inaccurate data? So embrace the reconciliation era and take a stand to have more reliable data at your organisation’s various fingertips.
If you need a hand, or are struggling with the data quality at the heart of your reporting, please do get in touch with our team of specialists.