Data health is one of the essential tools in your arsenal as a business decision-maker. Without data, you’re running blind, guessing audience preferences, market demographics, engagement, and more. But unhealthy data might be just as bad as having no data at all. Assessing the health of your data is crucial when determining its relevance and functionality. You need to be able to pull actionable insights out of the information you collect. Otherwise, it isn’t conducive for any of your efforts.
However, to understand if your data is healthy, you need to understand what “healthy” data looks like. Only then can you apply these strategies to improve your overall data health.
What is Healthy Data?
Data health is defined as the use of data as it applies to your targeted business questions. For data to be healthy, they need to produce actionable strategies through analysis. If you can’t tell a story about what your data means or why it matters to answer one of your target questions, then you aren’t working with healthy data.
There are plenty of ways your data quality strategy might be faulty, but problems usually crop up due to dirty data. Meaning data that is polluted or inaccurate, failing to provide insights for one reason or another. Here are the common types of dirty data:
- Incorrect data
- Inaccurately compiled data records
- Inconsistent data
- Incomplete data
- Non-integrated data
Any of these problematic data types can throw a wrench into your attempts to market to your target audience or scale your business effectively.
For example, product reviews are something 97% of consumers turn to when making a purchase, and yet 87% of reviews on Amazon product pages are unverified. Fake reviews make up real examples of incorrect data that can derail your understanding of customer satisfaction or mislead your customers into turning to competitors.
So as a business leader, it’s up to you to assess the data you collect and ensure that it provides accurate and relevant information. With millions of gigabytes of data to draw from, such an analysis is easier talked about than done. Fortunately, there are a few strategies you can employ to examine your data health effectively.
Ways to Assess Data Health
Consider the pandemic alone. Suddenly, customer behaviors changed unexpectedly, like airline flights being booked days in advance rather than months. To accommodate changing markets, you must also change your data strategy. Therefore, assessing your data health should be an intermittent and ongoing process.
It is crucial to take a “time out” now to reassess your data health holistically. Do you have dirty data? How about overlapping data that clogs up your systems without offering more information? You should apply a series of best practices to your analytical journey to make the most of your insights through data that you know is healthy in every possible way.
Start by evaluating the health of your data by applying the following strategies:
- Make a list of definitive questions you want to be answered for business success, then apply these questions to your data. If they don’t lead to insights, then find new questions. “Why is product X failing to sell this quarter?” or “Which vehicle in my fleet is at the greatest risk of breaking down?” are examples of good questions data can help you answer.
- Map critical sales metrics to your business goals. By finding what easily-tracked data metrics give the best answers to your list of questions, you can more easily narrow down the data you want real-time access to. For example, if you’re looking to improve marketing outreach, keeping track of lead response time can point to powerful insights.
- Use helpful software tools. Analytics algorithms and data-gathering dashboards are everywhere these days. Finding the right system for you can help you keep all your data flowing in real-time and even allow you to spot patterns and actionable items in the information more easily. Explore your options and use the tools that best fit your data and business model.
- Use your data to tell stories about your customers and your business. To find the insights you need, you have to apply a human narrative to your data. Why are you getting the numbers you’re getting? What do your customers want, and how satisfied are they with their experiences? Take your customer profiles and follow them through to a satisfying conclusion that results in business innovation. If you can’t do this, your data probably isn’t healthy.
- Invite diverse customer feedback. The more voices you have, the better you can coordinate qualitative data with quantitative data. If your numbers show one thing, but your target audience across platforms is saying something else, then you know it’s time to reassess your data strategy for more relevant insights. The more platforms you reach out on, the better.
These are just a few methods for determining and improving the health of your data. From here, you can pool your insights and reorganize your processes to maximize the potential of all the information you gather. This will allow you to build a business that truly understands its customers and markets, leading to more significant sales and revenue numbers across the board.
Maximizing Your Data Potential
To truly maximize business success, you need data. This 21st-century commodity gives businesses the tools they need to reach the right niche and drive up profits. But first, you need to assess the health of your data. Healthy data is relevant and precise, leading to actionable insights. Examine your data now using the strategies listed here, then prepare for growth.
Your competitors will undoubtedly have their strategies for collecting and analyzing customer data. Get a leg-up on the competition by ensuring that your data strategies are healthy and insightful. Then, watch your business reach all the goals you’ve set for it.
About the Author:
Amanda Winstead is a writer from the Portland area with a background in communications and a passion for telling stories. Along with writing, she enjoys traveling, reading, working out, and going to concerts. If you want to follow her writing journey or even say hi, you can find her on Twitter.