Five common data myths

If you’ve ever felt that making the most of your business data was something for your IT team to worry about, or that it’s far too complex for most of us to get to grips with, then read on to find out about these and other common misconceptions: 

1. Data is for technical people. Although data ownership is often seen as an IT responsibility to enable management of security and backups, all departments should be able to access and explore your organisation’s data. Effective data analysis tools are not about ‘SQL’, ‘joins’ and technical know-how, but will instead enable staff to gain insight as a result of creative thinking.

2. Data is hard to understand. It’s an easy conclusion to come to when faced with data spread across many systems, thousands of duplicate records, and incomprehensible field names – but data doesn’t have to be difficult. Using a system like MasterVision, it is possible to map hard-to-understand codes to plain English names, filter out genuine duplicates, and join together records from multiple sources to create a single, user-friendly view of your contacts.

3. Data is dull. This misconception is perhaps the most widely held, but is also the most inaccurate. Used effectively, your data can unlock many exciting possibilities for your organisation, including helping to find new prospects, enabling cross-selling, geographical analysis, contact profiling, and intelligent recommendations.

4. Data is slow. Working with data doesn’t need to be slow with the right systems in place. Google can query and return billions of results in seconds, proving it’s possible to get instant answers even with huge data volumes. The key to this is ‘indexing’, which speeds up system lookups in a similar way as the index in a printed book helps you find content quickly.

5. Data is all about databases. Within most organisations there are many sources of data in addition to traditional databases. These can include web logs, network spreadsheets, and even Word documents, all of which may contain key business information that is waiting to be tapped into.