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Category: Data Management

Avoid the Adventurist Trap: “Set It and Check It” Culture

September 11, 2020

This is the third part of our blog post series where we’re exploring data quality management. In this post, we’ll look at the value of something I like to call a “set it and check it” culture. This will help develop a mindset of performing regular data quality audits and developing a culture of data governance within your organization. Let’s dive right in!

If you’re landing on this blog post, I encourage you to read my two previous posts, “Avoid the Adventurist Trap: Don’t Take Data Quality for Granted” and “Avoid the Adventurist Trap: The Cost of Poor Data Quality.”

What is the Value of a “Set It and Check It” Culture?

It’s all very well and good discussing the costs of poor data quality and data governance, but unless your organization has experienced these in the past, it’ll probably fall on deaf ears. So you’re probably wondering “What’s the value of performing regular data quality audits?”

Proving value is extremely persuasive. To put it simply, if I tell you “by running this marketing campaign you can make one million dollars,” it’s a much more inviting proposition than saying “the cost of this marketing campaign is half a million dollars.”

image representing a data driven culture and growth strategy

High Data Quality is a Growth Strategy

I believe that ensuring high data quality is a growth strategy for digital transformation and improving customer experience — and therefore deserves investment. High data quality will undoubtedly lead to greater investment or increase budgets for analytics and data science teams. It proves your value and doesn’t underestimate the value of delivering reliable high-quality reporting and analysis on a regular basis. You’ll be everyone’s favorite team and the one that everyone else can rely on.

…ensuring high data quality is a growth strategy for digital transformation and improving customer experience — and therefore deserves investment.

But being everyone’s favorite team comes at a cost. It costs money to maintain high-quality data and top-notch data governance practices. You’ve got to be willing to spend the time upholding and improving your data quality because it’ll eventually lead to greater investment and growth of not only your analytics function, but the organization as a whole.

Develop a Digital Analytics Bug Log

One way of doing this is to develop a digital analytics bug log. This sounds simple, but sometimes simple things are the best solution. A bug log is going to help you prove the value and cost of performing regular data quality audits, buying or building an automated solution, and making proactive upgrades to your implementation.

Data disruption is unavoidable, even with the best practices. We can’t avoid issues completely, but we can track them, and we love to track things. (And make spreadsheets!)

Being able to highlight in a report that “this anomaly last year was due to this data collection issue” is extremely valuable, and having this knowledge when doing analysis can actually help you draw conclusions. It also helps to embed a data-driven culture and data governance practices within your organization.

If you take away anything from this post, go and create a digital analytics bug log, or if you’re a data science team, create a data error log or something similar. Make it a document that your whole team has access to and lives in. Adoption is key.

image representing data as the backbone of activation touchpoints

Data is the Backbone of your Activation Touchpoints

Furthermore, data is the backbone of your activation touchpoints. You can also become everyone’s favorite team by providing reliable and consistent data to other teams that they can use to drive targeted campaigns or personalization programs. There’s glory in it, trust me!

  • Optimization and testing teams rely on your data to draw conclusions about their experiments and, without you, they’re limited in what they can do. Bad data leads to bad conclusions. Garbage in, garbage out.
  • Marketing teams also rely on your data to target the right customers and prove the success of their campaigns — and don’t let them forget it!
  • Data science and analytics teams will rely on your data to add additional context to data from elsewhere in the business.

Ultimately, your data will be the foundation on which outstanding customer experiences can be built, seamless cross-device personalization, and a true understanding of what your customers want.

Your data will be the foundation on which outstanding customer experiences can be built, seamless cross-device personalization, and a true understanding of what your customers want.

Building Resilience to Discovering Issues

Let’s face it, no one likes finding problems in their implementation or in their data. I get it! It’s bad and can cast doubt on previous insights if it’s something that has been undiscovered for a while.

But by developing your “set it and check it” culture — your data governance culture — you’ll become conditioned to finding these issues and, therefore, more resilient. You’ll also know where to look next time and which parts of your implementation are at the highest risk of obsolescence. This will help you find issues faster in future building efficiency. You need to embed these processes within your team. After all, practice makes perfect.

Joshua Barratt
About the Author

Joshua Barratt is a Senior Analytics Implementation Consultant at Blast Analytics & Marketing. He has a unique blend of skills in both web development and analytics ensuring best-in-class strategy and implementation; from solution design through development, QA and deployment. He specializes in digital analytics, particularly Adobe Analytics, Google Analytics and a variety of tag management solutions.

Connect with Joshua on LinkedIn. Joshua Barratt has written on the Web Analytics Blog.

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