Data scrubbing is a popular term for data cleansing, the process of fixing incorrect, invalid, incomplete, and duplicated data in a database. Companies today are racing to be data-driven, which requires them to lean on their data to make strategic business decisions. For this to happen, the company must have access to data that is free from common human input errors such as typos and spelling mistakes and has complete information.
Data scrubbing software can help companies make sense of their data and resolve crucial data quality issues within a short time. The good thing? Top-of-the-line data scrubbing solutions can be operated by business managers requiring no additional technical expertise, allowing them to fix errors cost-effectively.
What Exactly is Data Scrubbing?
In technical terms, data scrubbing is, “error correction technique that modifies or removes incorrect, incomplete and inaccurate data in a database.” In simple terms, data scrubbing is data cleaning performed by a data cleaning tool on any data source or database and that can easily be operated by a business user. While data scrubbing would formally require technical expertise, it can now easily be done by automated solutions that take minutes to detect errors and fix it without any additional manual labor.
The data scrubbing process usually involves going through all the data within a database and removing or updating redundant information, duplicated, incorrectly formatted or is incomplete. This means field tokens such as [Name] [Address] [Phone Number] etc are analyzed to detect for errors such as typos, incorrect formats and duplicated information (a user’s information repeated three to four times, each time with a different email). How often you or your business needs data scrubbing depends on multiple factors including the amount of information you have, the overall health of your data and how often you need data scrubbing. Ideally, you should be cleaning data every six months, that is if you have a constant influx of data.
Why Do I Need Data Cleaning Anyways?
Because bad data is costly. Here’s a quick example.
Company A spends $10 acquiring 100 leads, but most of the leads have bad incomplete information. Now the company has two choices: to ignore the errors or to fix them.
Fixing the error before using the data will cost the company $20.
Ignoring the error and using the lead information as it is, costs the company a $100 loss. The time of a salesperson in chasing a lead with incorrect information, the marketing campaigns that will run on incorrect data and the flawed reports the company will receive because of incorrect information will all result in significant losses for the company.
This is just a tiny example. In the real world, we are dealing with an astronomical amount of data. It is extremely important then to make sense of this data and use it to our advantage. Moreover, costly mistakes as the result of bad data are no longer forgivable especially since there are dozens of tools and solutions available for businesses to fix their data. Customers expect companies to deliver personalized experiences especially if they have agreed to have their data stored or used by the company – messing that data up results in the company losing its reputation and value!
Using a Data Scrubbing Software vs Hiring Data Analysts – What’s Best for Your Business?
When companies realize they need to fix their data, they have a knee-jerk reaction to it. They begin frantically searching for data analysts who they think would be able to solve their data problems. But data analysts are NOT data scrubbers – they are people who help companies derive insight and value from their data. To make them scrub data is to deprive them of the opportunity of using their skills in analyzing data and making strategic decisions.
And here’s the tricky part.
Even if you hire data analysts, you will still not get quick results, neither will they be accurate. There’s a reason for that. Data analysts can only do as much. Manual data fixing will require the use of multiple algorithms to sort through complex data, the process alone will take months if not years to show desirable results. During the time, you will have also to manage the hiring of new talents, test and try different solutions and waste away talent in resolving a matter that has an automated, easy-to-use solution.
The cost of hiring a team to perform data scrubbing manually is 10times higher than buying a solution. Apart from wasting time, effort, and talent, here are some key reasons why you should use software instead.
1. It Delivers Accurate Results: Duplicates and redundant information cause data to be inaccurate. A data scrubbing software also performs data matching as its core function to remove duplicates. What would take a data analyst days to accomplish would take a software only minutes to deliver results – that too without compromising on accuracy.
2. It Does More than Just Cleaning: A best-in-class software does more than just cleaning. It offers data matching, data integration and many other functions among data cleaning. You can practically implement a data quality framework using a software solution.
3. It Helps Define Standards: The mere process of discovering the issues with your data is time-consuming. A software takes minutes to show you the problems plaguing your data. With this information, you are in a better position to define standards that will help you place better data controls in place, thereby, also setting the way for data governance.
4. It’s Cost-Effective & Easy to Use: Where you’re spending hundreds of thousands in talent, you an spend a few thousand dollars in software that you can use any time, every time by anyone in your organization who has to work with data.
5. It’s an Automated Solution to a Mundane Task: Data preparation or data cleaning is a mundane task that is demotivating and does not make the right use of your data talent. In a time when you want to clean data fast, you’d rather use an automated solution to fix issues while the hired talent can manage the process and help you in strategic business decisions.
There are a dozen other benefits to using a data scrubbing software, but the key benefit is that it helps you with data management, reducing your workload and letting you achieve your data quality goals without wasting unnecessary time and effort. When you have a data quality solution in place, you will be in a much better position to use your data for its intended purpose and can truly be data-driven.
data cleansing concept -DepositPhotos