There are many data sources that investment firms use from SEC filings to their own contact databases. With all the data available today, it is not surprising that data integrity and bad data quality can be a hinderance to every day tasks and worst can make a firm be less profitable than their competition. What is worst is that all investment firms have access to the same data, thanks to multiple data providers. With long hours and high pressure, you cannot expect bankers, financial analysts and investors to spend time on data governance or worst data cleaning. But what the firms can do is do an annual or semi annual data cleansing to help improve data quality for their firm.
When choosing a data cleansing company to clean your data, the first step is to understand what data problems your financial firm is faced with? StrategicDB offers a free data audit to be able to help their clients identify data issues within their data. Some of the common data issues include:
- Duplicates – Duplicated company or contact records makes it harder for everyone to conduct their business, as two people can be contacting the same company!
- Outdated Data – This is a big problem for business that have been in business for a long time. With the financial crush in 2008, many banking firms and other businesses have gone out of business. If your database has data prior to 2008 you may be over-estimating the potential size of your market and wasting time chasing leads in businesses that are no longer in business. This is even more true for contact data, as people often switch jobs every couple of years.
- Not Formatted Data – If you acquire data from multiple sources, chances are there is no normalization or standardization of this data. For example, you may have 10 different records for the same industry or have 2 or 3 different ways of presenting the same state or country, this makes it hard to run marketing campaigns and analysis on segments by geography or industry. Formatting the data should be a system’s task and not an individuals, however, if you have not standardized it, you do need to clean historical data.
- Missing Data – You may have missing information such as address, phone number or other critical data points that are making the record either useless or adding time to whoever is dealing with this record. The solution is simple, either flag it as “missing data” or delete the record completely or use third party data sources to append the missing information.
Once you have established the data issues in your instance, it is easy to find the right data cleansing company to provide data cleaning services. The turn around the cost typically depends on the scope of the project and number of records involved. Some of the questions to ask potential data cleaning firms include:
- Time to turn around? Typically data cleaning projects with StrategicDB take anywhere between 1 week and 3 week turn around times. Obviously there are exceptions.
- Budget? Different services cost differently, there are also different ways of deduping, data appending and so on. If the process is 100% automated it will typically cost less however, you will probably have about 90% accuracy. Data appending tends to be the most expensive data cleaning task and usually requires more time.
- Work involved on your end? Typically, there is some work required on your end. It can be something that will take an hour or two such as pulling the data file or approving the normalization/standardization table or they can take a few weeks of your time. Some data providers, when de-duping identify the duplicates but then send the files back to the client to select the “master” or surviving record. This is something that StrategicDB has resolved by applying your business rules to the de-duping process. Where you can select automatically who will be master such as client accounts, based on recency, activity on account and so on. Make sure you understand what work will be required on your end prior to committing to the project.
- Data Integrity and Safety? Most companies dealing with data take security measures, however, depending on data sensitivity you may not want your data being processed in locations that do not have the same legal laws of data protection that US, Canada, EU, UK and Australia have.
Remember, while it may take time and money to clean your data, the results outweigh the cost and effort required. If you are looking for a reputable data cleansing company, contact StrategicDB to get your data cleansed today!