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December 4, 2015

How to Talk to Your Boss About Needing Better Data Quality Tools

Chris Walsh

Accessing, correcting, and organizing data can add hours to your workday, limiting your ability to accurately report on initiatives and unlock the business insights that can help your company perform at its peak. You know that better data management tools could drive improved decision-making overnight, but you may not know quite how to get your boss on board. It’s easier than you think.

Chances are that you’re already using multiple data analysis and business intelligence tools, but you’re probably still spending a significant amount of time manually aggregating and preparing data for those systems. Disparate and disorganized data sources, human error and difficulty accessing key information can create gaps across your intelligence leading to shallow and inaccurate analysis – making it no surprise that poor data quality is a key reason for 40 percent of business initiative failures.

If this sounds familiar, it’s time to talk to your boss about making data management improvements. The key to persuading higher-ups is painting a picture of how much more robust your data ecosystem will be with tools that can automate productivity-sapping processes and allow analysts to report accurately and in real-time.

Step 1: Know the Impact

Knowledge workers spend approximately 38 percent of their time organizing information, and you’re likely no different. How much time do you spend on a weekly basis preparing data for analysis and reporting?

Map out the ways that better data management tools could accelerate your company’s business decision-making as a whole. Will you be able to report on a daily basis rather than weekly? Could seamlessly aggregating data from different vendors allow you to paint a complete picture of your marketing and sales streams? Remember that to your boss, nothing will be more convincing than explaining how poor data negatively impacts the overall bottom line – not just your personal scrubbing

Step 2: Find Solutions

Locate tools that address your data management gaps and play well with existing analysis tools. You’ll find the most promise in software that:

  • standardizes and cleans data without compromising its integrity;
  • automates data preparation processes for exchange between other applications and sources;
  • and allows for flexible data governance and connectivity.

Chat with peers to supplement your research with first-hand assessments of the latest industry tools and find out how they’ve addressed similar problems in their workplace.

Step 3: Know the Cost

Despite the invaluable pay-off of data management tools, your boss will want to know the bottom line. Start with investigating the pricing structure of different tools. Solutions that are priced based on the number of data tables used may be more affordable and scalable than those that charge per user seat if your company has lots of data analysts. Also note which data management offerings are absolutely necessary and which are optional.

Step 4: Creatively Present Your Findings

Now that you’ve done your homework, find a time to meet with your boss. Schedule strategically: Opt for times when new budget decisions are feasible or use time during your annual review to introduce solutions while you have your boss’s attention. Be creative in your presentation. Visuals are always helpful, so try creating graphs or slideshows that convey your message clearly and persuasively.

You don’t have to be stuck with data problems forever. Poor data may not be on your boss’s radar, so take these steps to create a strategy for presenting the issue and solution in a meaningful way that highlights how you can glean the most knowledge from your data and produce high-impact business insights.Chris Walsh headshot

About the author: Chris Walsh is the CEO and co-founder of TMMData, a provider of flexible data management software.

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