Is that White Smoke Coming from your CRM System?

Data Quality Challenges

Data Quality Challenges

It’s there every time I get in my car, nagging me. There’s this little wrench icon, which began to appear about a month ago. And there’s the service notification in the middle of my dashboard, with the mileage indicator (-891) telling me that I should have changed my oil almost 900 miles ago. But I haven’t had the time. And scheduling a service visit is inconvenient.

And it’s precautionary because I don’t have an oil problem, right? Well, there is that extra pint of motor oil that I carry in my trunk, since whenever I check my oil level it appears to be down a pint – or two. But there’s no apparent leak; as there’s no oil showing on my garage floor. And there’s no white smoke billowing from my exhaust, so I don’t seem to be burning oil. But “disappearing” oil is worrisome. Isaac Newton (in his law about the conservation of matter) said that something does not just disappear; it might change into something else, but it does not vanish altogether. So that oil issue may mean I have a problem. Because oil cannot just disappear.

But the car still runs fine. At least the engine hasn’t seized up – yet.

The situation is somewhat similar to that of CRM administrators dealing with data quality challenges in their customer database. Or perhaps not dealing with them. If their CRM system (the engine) has not “seized up” then the problems accumulate. And like the diminished performance of my engine, there is business disappearing because your CRM data is inaccurate, incomplete or perhaps rife with multiple records that are duplicates. But, because the business impact is hidden (no leaks in the garage or smoke billowing from your exhaust), it may not capture your attention. CRM systems don’t come with data quality dashboards that offer blinking wrenches and other preventative alerts.

Trillium has developed a little online calculator that can help you estimate the impact of poor data quality on your operations. You can check it out here. We used a model that is based on research from Sirius Decisions that has often been cited in terms of the impact of poor data quality on marketing and sales operations. Now every business situation is different, but this is a nice, quick and [not too] dirty estimator that can help you judge the impact that poor data is having on your business. 

But our simple online calculator might open some eyes as to the issues, as well as the prospective benefits of taking a more systematic approach to customer data quality. After all, you don’t want to be the CRM administrator who needs “roadside assistance” because they ignored their data issues for too long.