Five Steps to Measuring your Data Quality

16th May 2017

Data is everywhere, whether it’s in our personal lives or our working lives – we’re surrounded by it and it’s hard to escape it, but this does not mean that it’s a bad thing.

Good data can be useful in helping us make decisions about what we’re going to do next or where we are going. However, bad data can set an entirely different course, which can end up leading us down the wrong path.

But how can you tell that the data upon which you are making decisions on is good or bad?

At Science Warehouse, as we provide an eMarketplace containing over 18 million items, we know it is very important to have good data quality to base your purchasing decisions on but how do you measure it?

Here is our Five Steps to Measuring your Data Quality.

What are the characteristics to ensure that your data is of a good enough quality?

  1. Accuracy

The standard definition of accuracy is ‘the quality or state of being correct or precise’ – again, the term quality appears. If the data is accurate, this gives Buyers the confidence that they have all the facts presented to them and there is no need to doubt it.

It is important that the data in an eMarketplace is accurate – the information shown here will influence buying decisions. It can mean the difference between choosing one product over another.

  1. Validity

Is the data valid? So as well as being accurate, is it also factually sound? It’s all well and good providing accurate data but if it isn’t valid, then it won’t be believable.

Data within an eMarketplace needs to be valid. So if an item is hazardous, then it should conform to the relevant requirements.

  1. Timeliness

When making a buying decision, you need to have the data you require to make that purchasing decision at the exact time you want to buy the item. There is not much point if you only have limited information available upon which to base a purchasing decision.

If you add more data later on in the process, you may find that it’s too late as the product would have been bought already and most likely to a different Supplier.

  1. Relevance

Is the available information relevant? Having the right information, at the right time, helps Buyers to make a purchasing decision. It doesn’t help anyone if the structure is not followed and information is just added in wherever there is a space, rather than making it relevant.

The same can be said about an eMarketplace. There are a number of product fields which should be completed as a minimum and if the product field is entitled ‘Colour’ and instead of entering a colour it contains a number, then the information will not be relevant.

  1. Completeness

Having full information, really does help you make a fully informed purchasing decision. If there are lots of gaps or missing information, then you aren’t able to get everything you need to help you decide.

Many items that can be sold through an eMarketplace may be really specific, so Buyers will need as much information visible to them as possible. The decision on which product to buy can come down to the item which provides the most information.

Sounds like a lot of work for me, whether I am a Buyer or a Supplier! Can you help?

There are a number of ways that an eMarketplace can help improve data quality, including the following:

  • Ease of use when uploading or updating product details
  • Automated daily checks to ensure the data is of a good quality
  • Auto-feed facilities to keep it up to date
  • PunchOut to websites where appropriate

However further help is still at hand if you need it….. if you are a Buyer and want to ensure that the content on which your organisation makes buying decisions is accurate OR if you are a Supplier and struggle to classify, standardise and enhance your data – we can help!

We offer Catalogue Management solutions for both Buyers and Suppliers.

So if you need help with data, read more below:

Buyers: Catalogue Management

Suppliers: Catalogue Management

Contact us –  if you want to discuss how we can help.

By Eve Stanners, Data Quality Lead

Eve is Data Quality Lead and has worked at Science Warehouse for over 8 years. Eve and her team work to support Buyers and Suppliers to try to ensure that the best quality data is available within the eMarketplace, which is used to support purchasing decisions.

Get in touch to find out how we can help your organisation.

Our team are ready and would like to speak to you, to understand more about your organisation and how we can help you achieve your goals.

Contact us