11+ Tips to Improve Data Quality Including Best Practices

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Written By Haissam Abdul Malak

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In the age of big data, it is important that we have accurate and reliable data to make sound decisions. Data quality is a term which refers to the accuracy, completeness and consistency of data. The importance of improving data quality cannot be emphasized enough. This is because poor quality data can lead to wrong conclusions being drawn, which might have significant implications for decision-making in different fields.

Data quality can be improved by ensuring that data is accurate, complete, and timely. In addition to implementing data governance policies and procedures, such as establishing data entry standards and quality control measures.

Improving data quality is important because it can provide insights into how well a company is performing and can help identify areas where improvements can be made. Additionally, good data quality can impact financial reporting and decision-making.

In this article we will discuss tips to improve data quality, why is it important, and what are the main causes and issues of poor data quality.

Tips to improve data quality

What is Data Quality?

Data quality refers to the completeness, consistency, and accuracy of data. It is also a measure of how well the data meets the intended use of its creator or recipient. Data can be of high or low quality depending on how it was extracted and processed.

With the amount of data doubling every two years and a lack of human resources to analyze it all, it’s no wonder that a Data Quality Management System is becoming more common.

During the lifecycle of data, the quality should be checked to make sure that we are only acquiring, storing, and analyzing the data we need.

What Factors Affect Data Quality?

Data quality is the degree to which data accurately reflects reality. This can be affected by a number of factors, including the data collection methods, the tools used to process it, and how it is managed.

The most common factors that affect the quality are:

1- Data collection methods

Data can be extracted in many ways. The way in which data is collected will affect its accuracy and quality and whether or not it can be interpreted correctly. For example, if you collect information from a survey on people’s opinions on a certain topic, you would need at least 50 respondents to get an accurate representation of what the population thinks about that topic.

2- Tools used for processing

Different tools can have different impacts on quality. For example, if you use Excel for statistical analysis, your results may not be accurate because Excel may not be able to handle a large amount of data you are working with which will cause problems on the long run.

12 Best Practices To Improve Data Quality

Data quality is the degree to which data is accurate, consistent, complete, and relevant. Poor data quality can lead to incorrect decisions and undermine organizational goals.

The twelve tips and best practices to improve data quality are:

1- Establish clear guidelines for data entry

Data quality is a measure of how well data meets the requirements of those who use it. It can be enhanced by establishing clear and consistent guidelines for data entry and formatting. For instance, if you want to improve the accuracy of your data, you should check that the values entered in your database are correct and complete.

It is not just about having accurate information; it’s also about having information that is relevant to the needs of your customers. Therefore, you should establish clear and consistent guidelines and best practices for data entry and formatting as well as make sure that your data is relevant to the needs of your customers.

2- Use data validation techniques

Data validation is the process of checking data for accuracy and completeness. It is essential to do this step to enhance the quality of data before using it for any purpose.

Data validation techniques are used to check data for accuracy and completeness. There are different techniques that can be used according to the type of data you are validating. However, the most common techniques include:

– Data profiling, which analyzes the distribution of values in a column or set of columns.

– Data cleansing, which removes any errors and discrepancies in a dataset.

– Data matching and deduplication, which identifies duplicates across two or more datasets by comparing values in corresponding columns.

3- Ensure data is timely and up-to-date

Another tip to improve data quality is by ensuring collected data is always up-to-date.

In any industry, it is important to have accurate data that is up-to-date. If your data is not accurate, you will not be able to make the best decisions for your company. It’s important to keep your data fresh and up-to-date so that you can make the best decision for your company.

4- Use data cleansing and data scrubbing techniques

Data cleansing and data scrubbing are some of the most effective techniques to enhance and improve data quality. Data cleansing removes noise from a dataset while data scrubbing removes bad values.

There are many other techniques like ensuring that all columns in a dataset have valid values, ensuring that each column has similar types of values, making sure that each row has a unique identifier, etc.

5- Conduct regular audits of data

This is another method to improve data quality. Issues can occur at any point in a company’s data collection and storage process. When this happens, it can be costly and difficult to identify errors, but with the right tools, it is possible. Auditing your data regularly by having a data quality assessment is a good way to make sure that errors are identified early on.

6- Implement data governance policies and procedures

Inaccurate and unprocessed data can lead to a host of problems such as inaccurate reporting, failed processes, and wasted time. As such, it’s crucial for businesses to implement data governance policies and procedures to maintain and enhance the quality of their data.

Although data governance is best suited for large organizations, there are data governance tools that are ideal for small-to-medium businesses.

7- Use data mining and data analysis techniques

Data mining and data analysis techniques are used to identify trends and patterns. This is a very important best practices in the process of improving data quality. Data mining can be used to find hidden relationships between variables and data analysis can help identify errors in the data.

The following are some useful tips on how to improve your data quality:

  • Use descriptive statistics, such as averages, standard deviations, and percentages to describe your sample population.
  • Be wary of outliers in your sample population.
  • Avoid using ordinal scales for variables that are not ordinal (such as age).

8- Establish a data quality improvement plan

Poor data quality can lead to inaccurate decisions and missed opportunities. Data quality improvement plans are necessary for organizations with high levels of poor data quality.

A data quality improvement plan is a corresponding set of defined, prioritized, and sequenced activities that an organization might undertake to improve the quality of customer data.

Data quality improvement starts with collecting data, cleansing, and analyzing the data to identify errors. Once the errors are identified and prioritized, one should implement a plan that includes finding and fixing errors, improving data quality procedures, and training staff.

9- Educate employees on data quality standards

One of the most important best practices to improve data quality is to educate employees on standards and procedures. By teaching employees what data is, how to meet the standard, and how it can be used to enhance the company’s bottom line, will help improve their understanding of what good data looks like. Education can be in-person or on a website for self-service training.

10- Implement a data quality management system

Data quality management systems work to ensure data is up-to-date and accurate. If a business has bad data, the whole business suffers. That’s why it’s so important to have a system in place that ensures the integrity of data is maintained.

11- Keep a record of changes made to the data


It is important to keep a record of changes made to the data to improve data quality for a number of reasons. First, it allows you to track the changes that have been made and ensure that they are accurate.

Second, it allows you to identify any patterns in the data that may be causing errors.

Finally, it allows you to keep a history of the data in case you need to revert back to a previous version.

12- Applying data quality best practices

Applying data management best practices is an important factor that can help improve the quality of data in your organization.

How can a company improve data quality?

The quality of data is critical for a company to grow. It impacts their decision making, their business processes, and the experiences of their customers.

There are four major steps that a company can take to improve the quality of data:

1) Data governance

2) Data integration

3) Data preparation

4) Data validation

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