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Why your data clean-up needs a clear budget

It's time your board understood the benefit data can bring to a business. Rebecca Ley speaks to Paul Fakley at British Safety Council to understand the best way to gain buy-in for your data cleanse

Paul Fakley, executive director of engagement at British Safety Council, is currently working on overhauling the company’s data and processes. With five verticals and around 950 products, the organisation’s data is disparate and the processes are complicated.

Now in the process of reviewing the data alongside matching up separate systems, Paul had to find a way to justify budget to the board. “Over the years the complicated processes have affected the quality of the data in the background. We knew we had an issue with poor quality data, but didn’t realise how bad it was.”

After speaking to several data organisations, including Dun & Bradstreet, Paul realised the company had a high duplicate rate in its CRM system, and many out-of-date records. As well as looking for a one-off data clean, Paul wanted to find budget for ongoing data cleaning with simplified processes.

Here, Paul explains how to make a strong business case with a clear budget.

Delve into the detail

Don’t just compile online quotes for the cost of dirty data without information on how that number is reached, Paul advises. “You need more detail, for example what uplift your organisation might get in terms of new leads and business, and how long it takes to correct records.”

Stay conservative

If you go with the suggested data ROI uplifts, you may end up with unrealistically high expectations, so Paul stayed conservative when he presented this to the board. “It’s a starting point,” he says, but it may be best to start with smaller but more realistic numbers that your board is more likely to accept.

Start with what you know

Paul advises finding something that’s palatable to the business in terms of cost, because looking after data is a long-term investment. “You might be given a figure of £60 for each duplicate record, but because I know how our business works, I adjusted that cost.”

Don’t forget about people’s time

The thing that most people need to take into account and forget about when creating a business case is the cost of people’s time, Paul explains. “You need to work out how much extra time people are going to need to spend implementing new processes to keep the data clean.”


This is an extract from the report How to gain buy-in and budget: Turning data into ROI. To download your free copy and learn more, click here.

How to gain buy-in and budget: Turning data into ROI

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