Tips for Executing an Effective Data Quality Strategy



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A business’s operations, and its resulting success, are highly dependent upon the quality of the data it uses. This truism is universally accepted. Data impacts every facet of the business, and with the growing use of AI, the business must be proactive in its data quality strategy.

As we’ve previously discussed, the effort must be two-fold: 

The First Step for a Data Quality Strategy: Conduct an Initial Audit

The results of a properly conducted data quality audit will inform you of your needs as well as guide your priorities and next steps. It will also protect your investment in time and money, while maximizing your strategy's ultimate impact. And don’t forget to audit your data tools as well as the data.

No two audits are alike—it depends on the unique nature of your business. However, the goal should be to “identify the most critical data and focus on high-value areas of your organization,” according to the Salesforce® article, “Data Hygiene Schedule and Actions for New Admins.” Salesforce recommends these priorities:

  • Which reports are your users running on a regular basis? Examples include annual reports, executive quarterly reports, mailing addresses, etc.
  • Which data is going to make the wheels fall off if it’s wrong?

Also, from the article, here are just a few of numerous operational considerations to review:

  • How is data being added to the system? If you see bad data, can you identify potential reasons why and how it got there?
  • Who is creating or editing records? If other users are editing the records, do they know how to fill out the correct fields?
  • Have you recently performed a data import? If so, check and make sure the records were uploaded correctly, and to the correct objects.
  • Are there any workflow rules, process flows, validation rules, or duplicate rules in your system? Could the problem stem from automation?

Regarding the last point above, Passage Technology has created a Salesforce app, Data Quality Helper. It offers customizable rules for enhanced data validation and duplicate data resolution that go way beyond the limitations of default Salesforce data tools.

Improving Data Quality Is an Ongoing Process, Not a Single Project

Once you’ve formulated and executed your initial data hygiene plan, the work doesn’t end there. You’re just beginning. The Salesforce article recommends setting up a schedule of regular recurring actions. Among them are reviewing newly created files weekly, creating backups, executing file and folder cleanups, and monitoring data storage strategy. These are good ideas.

They also recommend reviewing that all fields are properly filled in and naming conventions are being enforced as well as data duplication rules are working effectively. We agree, however, scheduling the use of Salesforce tools for these tasks can be time consuming and have limited effectiveness. The right data quality tool, such as Data Quality Helper, has much more functionality with enhanced soft and hard data validation rules and enhanced granularity for duplication rules and merging files.

These Admin-created rules run in real-time, 24/7, constantly watching out for emerging data quality issues of various types (check out some of the many use cases for this app). No need for scheduled tasks. Users are notified and immediately empowered to make needed fixes, without using limited Admin resources. In addition, all unresolved data quality issues are shown in a convenient list view with quick action links to begin the cleanup process.

Build Momentum for Data Quality and Prevent Regression

Salesforce is an important platform for business transformation and growth. But the prerequisites for obtaining future success must be met—first and foremost high-quality data. A business’s people, processes, and technology can’t reach their potential without it. Only then can a business maximize ROI on its Salesforce investment. How much longer are you willing to let the drag and friction of poor data quality go unaddressed? Don’t wait until it’s too late and the costs get even more steep. The sooner, the better.

Install the free version of Data Quality Helper from the Salesforce AppExchange today.


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