Why is a database audit necessary?

When you specialise in a particular industry your database should be a reflection of the current market. The Telco and Broadcaster industries are especially fast-moving areas. People change jobs frequently, often within the same company but equally as often they move onto a competitor. Companies merge, get taken over, or go bankrupt frequently. For your database to stay current you need to assess the quality of the information that you hold on your contacts. You may find that it is necessary to have a database audit.

When was the last time that you assessed your data? 

With the advent of GDPR and tighter data protection laws in Europe many companies have started to look long and hard at the quality of their data that they hold, and the processes that they use to keep the data clean. When was the last time you made an assessment of your data? When was the last time that you cleaned your data? Where do you even start to assess which data needs to be cleansed? Before you can start a program of cleaning and updating data you need to know exactly what areas need improvement.

Finding the problem areas in your database!

You may decide to do the necessary database audit yourself inhouse or involve a 3rd party expert data cleaning agency. First, you will first need to know how complete your database is.

Is your existing data complete?

Are all fields filled out? Do you have a complete profile for each contact? As a database specialist we have frequently been asked to assess the quality of our clients’ databases. We are used to seeing fields missing such as surname, incomplete job titles (really, how useful is the job title ‘Director’ without knowing what the contact is the Director of?), missing dialling codes, missing country or region and other vital pieces of information that allow your sales and marketing team to utilise the contact fully and segment the data for successful marketing campaigns.

Inconsistent data

You may find that the same company is called by slightly different names in your database, therefore it is impossible to get a real picture of what data you hold. A thorough database examination will highlight inconsistencies and show areas that need to be improved.

When was the last time that the data was updated?

Data that has not been touched for more than a couple of years could be out of date. Are you really constantly updating data across your whole database, not just the most heavily used segments. Can you honestly say that every part of your database has been reviewed and updated in the last year? If the answer is no then it is very likely that you will need to know which areas of your database are no longer useful to your current business goals.

Duplicate data

Data should be unique, but due to human error or inconsistencies in the original data entry the same contact could be held more than once. Finding these duplicates and then carrying out a programme of deduplication is an essential step in data cleansing.

Invalid Emails

Bouncing emails – these are a great indication that something is not right or has changed! Do you have the time to follow the reason for every bouncing email? Perhaps a company has merged or been taken over by another. Your original contact could have changed roles or left completely and you no longer have a viable contact in the newly formed entity.

Once you have established the state of your database then you will be able to decide what areas need to be worked on to improve. If you need help with a full database assessment and/or filling in the data gaps then please contact us to find out how we have helped other companies troubleshoot and audit their database.

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