Ah, the holidays. It’s my favorite time of the year for so many reasons. I think the most important reason I enjoy this time of the year is it allows for me to reflect personally, and professionally, on what I’ve achieved this year and what I hope to achieve in the upcoming year.
As I reflect back on 2018, I can say I’ve grown and challenged myself, given more time to my family—been present. As I think about what lies ahead in 2019, many of my professional goals are synonymous with the desire to help our customers succeed and grow their business. I’ve worked for small and large organizations and I’ve seen how quickly marketing and sales goals can be derailed by inaccuracies or gaps in data.
So, in the spirit of helping others this holiday season, I’ve come up with a list of New Year’s Resolutions that anyone can and should stick to in 2019.
- Don’t wait. Start thinking today about your data and identifying where you believe the problems lie. Try to use reports and facts instead of hunches where you can. Ask other colleagues in other departments what they might be seeing or experiencing.
- Once you’ve created a comprehensive list of your data quality issues, prioritize them. If you could solve only one data issue, which would you choose?
- Understand how data is created. Is your business buying lists, increasing the number of web forms on your website, expanding its sales staff, or attending a number of tradeshows in 2019? All of these events will impact your data. Determine where the data is coming from and what impacts it had in the past, what might happen in the future, and what is going on right now.
- Create a plan. This plan should include a timeline for completion, stakeholders, and technology or resources that will be needed to execute your plan. Create milestones for yourself so that you stay on target. Rome wasn’t built in a day.
- Seek help. With the help of other departments and stakeholders, determine what CRM data quality software might be needed to assist you during this process. You will likely need more than the native applications within your CRM to get this right. If you need to secure budget for these solutions, do it now and ask the other departments who are committed to this plan to come up with portions of the budget, too. This also ensures that everyone is equally committed to the project with more proverbial “skin in the game.”
- Get started. Once your plan and budget are approved, take action. There is no time to waste. Your business isn’t going to stop what it’s doing while you fix your data quality issues. So, you’ll need to get to work quickly and efficiently to move this project along. I promise you, at the end of 2019, you’ll be happy you did it and your business will reap the benefits from your strategic thinking.
- As you build your data quality processes, automate them when you can. Leave the routine data standardization and scenarios to run in the background while you focus on more strategic data quality programs.
- Keep it up. Like many New Year’s resolutions, it can be hard to make a goal and stick with it. In the case of data quality best practices, a “one and done” data quality governance program is impossible. To get it right, it takes the right software, the right team, and the right ongoing program to ensure success.
My commitment to myself and my company is to make this year the very best year. I hope you will commit yourself, too.