Benefits of Focusing on Data Integrity
March 20, 2019
We live in a data driven world, but the data is far more useful if it is accessible and reliable.
Ask yourself – do you view the reliability and accessibility of your data as a competitive advantage or a frustrating drag? Do you have multiple sources of information that sometimes show conflicting information, especially when you are facing a key decision?
We do a lot of work with institutions on strategy and process improvement, and have found that ease of access, and reliability of the data, often acts like an anchor, rather than an accelerator for moving the institution forward. The ultimate goal may be to create an environment where ALL the data you want is in a single spot, instantly accessible, and reliable. This endeavor can seem daunting, but keep in mind that the best way to get something big done, is to get started.
The first step, and often easiest step, is to take data that is already accessible and organize it to make it more useful. With emphasis on business intelligence, and CECL right around the corner, the time is now to enhance the integrity of your data.
Well-organized financial data, that is easily accessible, saves people a tremendous amount of time, and uncovers opportunities.
Clean and well-organized financial data for ALM simulations, budgeting, forecasting, and budget updates, or as a foundation for testing what-ifs, can be very beneficial. Just a few benefits include:
- Minimizing the time you and your team need to spend questioning the reliability of the data. This leaves more time using the data to inform decisions
- Clean audit trails. Just think how many times you ask, or are asked, where did this number or data point come from? This type of question is often quickly followed by that sinking feeling in the pit of your stomach. You might think, “Oh no, is the data right?” or, “How long will the research take this time?”
- More time to think of other ways the reliable data can be used strategically to create new solutions – enhancing the value of you and your team’s strategic contribution
- Minimizing errors and spreadsheet overload. Recognizing the potential issues of spreadsheet overload, many institutions are on a mission to reduce the number of spreadsheets that are generated for reporting purposes
- Meeting deadlines with less stress and more reliable reporting. This can increase the credibility and reliability for you and your team
Even if you don’t have a data warehouse, it does not mean you can’t have data that is well-organized and easy to access. Simply putting relevant data points in one file can make a huge difference. Keep in mind, these types of data points exist. It is a matter of organizing the data for easy access and use.
Organizing the data that is currently accessible is an important first step towards data integrity, and positions you to address the next question, “What NEW data do we need to begin tracking to continue improving our use of business intelligence and optimizing our business?”