Data… The Problem Isn’t What You Think

By - October 14, 2019

A couple of months ago, I had a minor medical scare. On the day I was getting my brown belt in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, I woke up with a throbbing pain in my lower calf. I hadn’t injured myself recently, so being the hard-headed person that I am, I wrapped it up, drove to class, did the full promotion ritual, joyfully received my promotion, and went about my day.

Throughout the next two weeks, the pain persisted. Not better, but also not worse. Thinking it was nothing more than a minor muscle injury, I wrapped my calf and continued training with my usual level of intensity and frequency. That was until I mentioned the pain to an ER doctor friend who said: “You know, you might have a blood clot.”

As a very frequent traveler and someone with a family history of clotting issues, I hate to admit it, but I panicked just a bit. We were up in Vail for an event, so I found a local clinic that accepted my insurance and could get me in for an ultrasound right away and, sure enough, sitting there in my soleal veins were a couple of blood clots.

Blood thinners are standard in this case, and I was grateful to have an easy treatment for the problem at hand. However, long-term blood thinners would require significant changes to my lifestyle and I’d no longer be able to train in Jiu-Jitsu (blood thinners put you at serious risk of brain bleeds during contact sports).

Fortunately, after a few more consultations and a battery of blood tests to rule out any systemic problems, I was told that this was likely an anomaly. Other than doing preventative things like wearing compression socks on airplanes (something all of us frequent fliers should be doing anyway) and staying hydrated, I wasn’t at any higher risk than anyone else.

The reason I took you on this personal, medical journey is to demonstrate that the symptoms don’t always, or even frequently, provide us with the right answer to the underlying problem. What I thought was a minor muscle injury turned out to be a potentially dangerous problem. And in my experience, I see most companies treating their data symptoms in the same manner.

Talking about “dirty data” certainly isn’t new, but what are companies legitimately doing to fix the underlying issue? In far too many cases, they’re layering technology after technology on top of their databases, but the underlying data problems still persist. 

So, what are the causes, and how do we address them? Let’s have a look at how we got here and what we can do to get to a better place.

Opening the floodgates and doing things the hard way.

Technically speaking, we’re talking about two problems here, but they have the same net result, so I want to address them together. The first part of this issue is the fact that companies tend to treat all data equally and allow it in the door no matter what. While the ABM movement is attempting to address this from an output point of view, data acquisition still trends towards letting everyone with any level of interest into the database. Nowhere is this more apparent than event data acquisition where the vast majority of companies allow the entire attendee or scanned list into their database.  

Making matters worse is the fact that a majority of third-party data acquisition efforts are still performed manually. The manual process means that vendors are sending dated information over, via spreadsheet, where some — likely overworked, under-engaged — person has to format and validate the data themselves before uploading it into the database.

Combining these two issues results in a massive amount of data getting into your database that either has no business in there in the first place or is formatted so poorly that the data is all but unusable. Companies then spend untold amounts of money in database costs, cleansing efforts, and technology, not to mention the massive amount of time and money wasted chasing down phantom leads. 

Of all the data problems a company may experience, this part of the equation is, by far, the easiest to fix: automate the acquisition process and stop useless data from ever getting into your system in the first place. Shamelessly, this is also one of Convertr’s core value propositions, but we’re certainly not the only company solving this problem. Incredibly, most companies are still stuck in the dark ages of third-party data acquisition and are focused on treating the symptom rather than addressing the core issue.

Saying that you’ll address your data acquisition problem once you finally clean up the database is kind of like working out more to fight a spreading middle while simultaneously deciding to subsist on a diet of nothing but fast food, soda, and beer! If you don’t take care of what goes in the results you’re looking for are absolutely never going to materialize.

Bottom Line…

Data is the world’s most valuable resource and, besides your people, chances are it’s your company’s as well, so allowing it to be corrupted and polluted by permitting the problems mentioned above to continue is ludicrous. The problem can be solved but, if you’re continuously treating the symptom and ignoring the problem, things are only going to get worse.

Don’t ignore one of the main causes of your data problems, and request your free demo today. 

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