You’re put in charge of collating customer information from multiple branches of a brand. The only problem? The branch heads weren’t given a proper set of guidelines to be issued while issuing the forms. While some forms had the date written in DD/MM/YYYY format, the other followed a MM/DD/YY format. Some names have initials in the beginning, while others have initials at the end.
The end result?
Endless hours wasted on formatting and sorting thousands of rows while you could have been working on something productive.
And this is where, data cleansing services can help.
Let’s dive in.
When you are a small business, sorting and tracking data can be a breeze and it wouldn’t take up more than a hundred rows on a single Excel sheet. But once you start growing and scaling up, this data slowly becomes a database and eventually a warehouse.
Without the right tools and support, data on such a large scale cannot be efficiently leveraged to draw strategic insights, chart innovative marketing plans and fuel growth. Big data contains a wealth of information about customer buying patterns, web traffic, seasonal trends and much more. And in order to get these insights, data has to be input in a streamlined manner that can be understood by the software.
What is Data Cleaning or Data Cleansing?
Data cleaning refers to eliminating inconsistencies and errors in large volumes of data so that it meets certain standards and presented in an understandable form for a user or a software.
As a business grows and evolves, so does the size of data, data formats and data types. Over time, the introduction of various systems and processes result the same data presented in a variety of formats.
For instance, while Amazon records your name as Michael E. Smith, your driving license may record it as Michael Erwin Smith. Same name. Different formats.
When data from multiple sources and formats is merged, it could result in duplicate records, missing information or even worse, corrupted data. Missing data and inconsistencies are the biggest challenges in data collection. Research shows that data scientists end up spending 60% of their total time organizing and streamlining data. Data cleansing can help free up their valuable time by presenting them with properly organized data that is good to go from the get go.
From a commercial standpoint, data cleansing is used by businesses who use questionnaires, surveys, etc to find out what their customers desire. In such cases, data cleaning is used as a tool to find out whether the information was entered correctly based on the questions asked, if there are any information gaps, etc.
Cleaning data especially when working with the large sets of information within a short time frame is a challenging task that requires expertise and focus. Thankfully, modern day software has made the process of data cleaning easier and efficient.
Steps Involved in Data Cleaning
Let us take a look at some widely used methods in data cleansing explained using simple real-life examples:
Removal of Unwanted Observations:
For a database used to find the average age of people in a particular area, the address column is unnecessary and adds needless load on the system.
Fixing Structural Errors:
A system might recognize North America, NA and N.A. as three different locations. Ironing on this issue would yield better results.
Managing Unwanted Outliers:
A database to find out the brightest student in a college can ignore students with a D-.
Handling Missing Data:
A database in which users have filled the zip code box, but have failed to mention the location. With a bit of research, this missing information can be filled.
Why is Data Cleaning so Important?
Almost all businesses rely on data to run their operations these days. Data cleansing is vital to such businesses.
Here are a data cleansing advantages you should know.
- Customer Acquisition
Clean data can help companies identify customers who are more likely to convert and devise marketing strategies to turn them into buyers.
- Decision Making
From Starting a new branch to introducing a new dish in the menu, data can help businesses make confident decisions.
- Increases Efficiency
By doing away with duplicate, expired and useless information, the process of data cleansing ensures that employees and team members only work on valid and relevant data and don’t waste time on outdated information
- Increases Productivity
Having access to detailed and well-maintained records of data makes it easier to employees to access them and process them for their daily tasks.
- Increases Revenue
If there are any seasonal information or promotions that a company wants to share with its customers, accurate information and data can help in reaching the customers conveniently and quickly, thus boosting sales.
Setting up an in-house data cleaning team requires a significant amount of investment and training. Thankfully, companies can outsource their data cleansing services and increase their database’s operational efficiency without spending a fortune.
Why Outsource Data Cleansing Services to Third Parties
- Saves Time
With the median annual base salary in the U.S. of data scientists at pegged at $104,000, your business cannot afford to let them spend quality time on data cleansing. By outsourcing data cleaning, their services are put to better use.
- Saves Money
Why leave your marketing and sales teams shooting in the dark looking for the right customer? With a qualified database in their hands your sales teams can quickly reach potential customers resulting in more revenue.
Data professionals at outsourced companies have a lot of expertise in the field and can leverage their acquired skills to get rich data that can be put to good use by a business.
Expert Callers can help you outsource your business data cleansing services. We have over a decade of experience in various outsourcing services thanks to highly competent staff and efficient processes. At Expert Callers, we provide specialist services in across platforms like Oracle, MS SQL, NO SQL, Datastax, etc and understand how to create and maintain optimum database performance. Talk to us for more information on Data Cleansing Outsourcing Solutions.