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How To Do Regular Data Audits And Keep Your Data Clean

Cirrus Insight. Team observing data on a table.

39% of consumers using Salesforce’s AppExchange have cited Data Cleansing as the primary problem they’re trying to solve.

That makes total sense to us, because bad data can lead to wasted time, money, and opportunities, which in turn hurts morale and productivity.

You. Yes, you. Your time is valuable so don’t let bad data waste it. Besides, bad data is not just an inconvenience. It’s also a serious organizational problem that impacts everyone.

So, how do we solve this problem? In this article we will explore how to execute regular data audits and keep your data clean.

What is bad data?

Well first, we need to be clear on what Bad Data is, so you know what to look out for.

Bad data is most often defined as any set of incomplete or inaccurate information, such as duplicate, data, inaccurate, or out-of-date data. Bad data can be as small as a typo or misspelling, or as big as blatantly incorrect information.

There are two key steps to cleaning up all that bad data up:

  1. Data Auditing
  2. Data Deduplication
Cirrus Insight. Man evaluates data on his laptop.

Let’s Talk Data Auditing First

Is there such a thing as a “good” audit? Surprisingly, yes!

We’re going to talk about one of those kinds today.

And if you love data as much as we do, you may even look forward to your regularly scheduled data audits… You have regularly scheduled data audits, right?

No?

That’s ok.

We just identified the first step you can take toward having them done.

How often should you do a Data Audit?

Everyone is different, so it’s hard to suggest a standard cadence that’s going to work for everyone – but we recommend having a data audit done at least once a month.

So, get some coffee, look at the data you do have, note any patterns, and identify where any bad data is coming from.

Things that are recurring over and over again, and then make a note of it. Then, look at where your bad data came from; more often than not, bad data gets introduced into your system through third-party platforms.

The point here is to go from a reactive mode, “Oh crap. Look at how much time and productivity we’ve lost because this information isn’t right” to a proactive mode.

“We regularly audit our data, check all the places where it’s coming into our system from, and we have a good time while we do it.”

Cirrus Insight. Data on a table.

I can’t guarantee you’ll have a good time, but I encourage you to make data auditing a routine part of your schedule. Finding and correcting errors now will save you time, energy, and effort later, after all.

Now, you might be wondering: How can you make it super easy for your users to keep your data fresh & clean in the first place?

How to clean up your data

Salesforce does have Duplicate Rules and a merge process which can be a great first step as you manually work through duplicates, but it only works for certain objects and you’re still making decisions about how to merge the data.

As fun as it would be to manually fix those issues forever (I hope you read that in a sarcasm font), the best bet in the long run is automation.

Introducing a third party duplicate management tool can not only help you save “mappings” to control which record is the master and which field values should be prioritized, but after you get those set up and tested manually many tools over scheduled jobs to keep up the cleaning for you.

Don’t get too excited and skip over that 'manually testing your rules' step - unless of course you’re looking for a reason to get familiar with restoring from your backup tool (Past me cannot emphasize this enough).

Now for the other side of the coin:

Missing or outdated data that wastes your user’s time.

You can introduce tools to enrich data - but make sure they’re matching well and not contributing to your duplicate problem. A Last Enriched timestamp can help users know the freshness of the data, and making it super simple for users to help enrich data keeps everyone happier.

Try to meet your users where they’re already working to help fill in blanks in your data and make it easy for them to find records so they’re less likely to get frustrated and toss in a duplicate record. Every little step toward de-duplication and cleansing will help, so try to focus on progress not perfection.

To better manage your data, consider adding Cirrus Insight's flagship software to your suite. With a direct sync to Salesforce, brand new scheduling features, and tons of additional sales tools, Cirrus Insight can change the way you sell overnight.

I hope I’ve sparked some ideas for cleaning up your data!

BJ Mendelson
BJ Mendelson

BJ is a Content Strategist with Cirrus Insight.

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