Cleaning in progress

Member Article

Data cleaning is for life, not just for spring!

Seemingly the entire calendar is now blocked out with Weeks dedicated to this and Days devoted to that. Would you believe that even cleaning has its own week! Admittedly it was started in the US, but is making its way over here. Beginning the fourth Sunday in March, National Cleaning Week allegedly shows up just in time for fair weather, meaning we can throw open our doors and windows and give our homes a thoroughly good spruce up. For us Brits, however, with our weather a little more unpredictable spring cleaning traditionally starts in May once the heating has (hopefully) been turned off - or is reduced to a few hours in the morning.

A tidy house, a tidy mind Research proves that besides a clean house spring cleaning improves moods, decreases stress levels, and increases creativity. Cleaning and improved mental health go hand in hand.

Corporate cleaning However, it is not just our homes that get dusted off, according to Aberdeen Standard Investments an annual dust down is now not unusual in the business environment with many businesses carrying out a purge - such as encouraging staff to take the time to clear out their emails, get rid of extraneous paperwork thrown into cupboards, tidy up shared networks and review process and procedures. There are many benefits to an ordered workplace including increased productivity, better morale and reduced absenteeism.

Clean data is for life, not just for spring! However, one area that should not be minimized to an annual purge is customer data. When it comes to data hygiene cleaning is for life, not just for spring!

It is a legal requirement that personal data shall be accurate and, where necessary, kept up to date. It is also an obligation under the GDPR, DPA 2018, the DMA code and the CAP Code to screen customer data regularly. The DMA recommends that organizations should review a data hygiene regime against the customer data life cycle.

During the course of customer relationships organizations gather a huge amount of data and information about them. By implementing an appropriate updating cycle, it is possible to ensure that data is cleaned at important moments, such as just after acquisition or any notification by the customer to a business.

Running checks and updates is especially important right before any outbound activity. This ensures the data is as accurate as possible before it goes to the customer. The more accurate and up to date data is, the more effective the outbound communication will be. Not to mention the impact of clean data on analytics. If people that have passed away or people that have moved home are included it can lead to significant bias resulting in flawed insight. Maximising marketing budgets

In the current climate this is particularly important as marketing budgets are notoriously tight and ensuring bang for the buck is critical. To maximise budgets increasingly businesses are turning to CRM. A recent report revealed that spend on CRM is expected to reach $128.97 billion by 2028 from $58.04 billion currently, a growth rate of 12.1 per cent. Much of the growth is predicted to come from the increasing number of small and medium companies that are adopting advanced customer relationship management solutions in their business processes.

Many businesses are turning to CRM because it is a cost-effective way to manage the customer, and solutions are becoming more accessible and easier to navigate. As a result of this investment a number of organizations are now using CRM platforms to host their customer databases to reduce costs elsewhere. But with the data at the heart of the solution it is even more important that it is kept up to date.

But how to keep customer data clean? But what is the easiest and most cost effective way to do this? For customers of Microsoft Dynamics 365 it is possible to screen customer data within the security of the Azure platform. This is currently the only CRM platform that enables in-platform data hygiene. For users of other platforms it will be necessary in most cases to work with a third party to ensure that the data is kept compliant and as up to date by regularly running it through cloud-based data processing solutions.

Ultimately, customer data is increasingly proving to be the lifeblood of many organizations and therefore it is critical that it is afforded the care it requires, or risk lower returns on investment in the best case scenario and/or fines from the ICO in the worst case!

Martin Rides, Managing Director of The Software Bureau and Clean Contacts

This was posted in Bdaily's Members' News section by The Software Bureau .

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