How much confidence do you have in your agency’s data?

If you can’t trust the accuracy of your information, are you able to fully achieve your agency’s mission?

Data Quality Management

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The Business Value of Data Quality

As government agencies continue their digital transformation, their success will largely depend upon their ability to get data management right. Those that position their agencies to manage data properly and understand its intrinsic value will have a distinct advantage in accomplishing their mission.

Data has become a core part of every government agency’s operation. But it’s not just possessing that data that matters. The data must be accurate, complete and continually updated if it’s to be used in making sound decisions and driving effective business operations.

Every department relies on data, and it flows throughout the agency, changing as it flows from one functional area to the next. These linkages and complexities make the quality of your data even more important.

Why data quality should be a priority

Good quality data allows agency staff to be more productive. It increases operational efficiencies and drives processes. Your agency can dedicate more time to its core mission if your employees don’t have to validate data or manually correct mistakes.

Accurate customer data also reduces the amount of undeliverable mail, which saves money in postage costs and allows you to easily contact and communicate with your citizens.

Quality data helps your agency reduce risk and fight fraud through effective data-screening processes. And it facilitates compliance with regulations. It empowers you to make informed and confident business decisions for your agency. It can also:

  • Shine a light on suspicious entities or transactions
  • Zero in on anomalies or outliers that require investigation
  • Identify collusion or undisclosed relationships
  • Protect your citizens’ personally identifiable information (PII)
  • Create a holistic view of a citizen or business

Government agencies often fail to take advantage of the many benefits that data can provide. Their efforts to serve citizens and businesses are hamstrung by poor-quality data. Agencies need to gain control over this valuable asset if they’re to be successful in their mission.

What causes bad data?

If what you believe to be current and complete information is in fact bad data, how will you know? How can you make good decisions when you have unreliable information? The quality of your data can be affected by many variables:

  • Human error – Whether by someone in your agency or information entered by a citizen, human error is indeed a factor in bad data. Transposed numbers, typos, misspelled words, data typed in the wrong field, or important differentiators such as “Jr.” left off of a name can all be difficult to detect.



    Those errors likely won’t be corrected unless a problem arises. By then, the errors may have expanded to multiple departments throughout the agency.

  • Lack of standardization – Slight inconsistencies and variations in data format or specific data attributes can lead to the same citizen or business having multiple records. Even minor data errors can make it difficult for traditional rules-based matching systems to identify and match duplicate records.



    If your agency has multiple, discrete silos of data across the enterprise, changes may not be universally applied, as each department has its own unique identifiers and formats. And once you have duplicate records, who is to say which one is the most current and accurate?

  • Data decay – Data is dynamic. Citizens and business entities often change names, physical addresses, email addresses and phone numbers but don’t always think to notify your agency. If you have outdated information, you likely don’t even know it.
  • Incomplete records – Having accurate records means not only correct information, but also complete information. Missing data affects analysis and makes it hard to take action

The alarming costs and consequences of poor data quality

Poor quality data prevents agencies from achieving their #1 priority—serving their citizens. Efforts to improve the citizen’s digital experience may also be undermined.

When there’s a lack of trust in data quality, confidence in the results it provides diminish quickly. Staff can’t rely on the data to make sound decisions. They lack critical insights and are likely to miss opportunities.

Your agency risks losing revenue because you may not know who owes you, how much they owe or how to contact them. And there’s always the potential for reputational damage that can range from minor daily incidents with citizens to public relations disasters and punitive fines.

Eliminate inaccurate data

Data quality management can drive efficient, effective operations. And with the amount of data rapidly growing every day, it’s becoming more important than ever to tackle data quality issues head-on.

Achieving data accuracy and completeness requires a proactive, all-inclusive approach to cleaning, linking and managing data at the agency level. If that sounds like a tall order to fill, you’ll be glad to know technology solutions can be effective.

LexisNexis® Risk Solutions has the depth and breadth of capabilities—centered around deep, robust data sets and powerful analytic capabilities—to elevate your agency’s data management and restore full confidence in the quality of your information.

 

Data Quality Management
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