Data Cleansing: A Vital Step in Any Report Preparation
Beyond data entry lays data cleansing. While there can be a little more flexibility when choosing a company to manage your data entry, when it comes to data cleansing accuracy and attention to detail are paramount. Choosing a company or personnel to clean your data may be one of the most important choices you make in anticipation of preparing any report.
What is Data Cleansing?
In any project where data will be processed and reported, data cleansing is the next step after data entry. Before data can be processed, it must be gone through with a fine-tooth comb and cleaned up. Without this step, it is possible that the data will be processed inaccurately. This can lead to reports that are either reporting data incorrectly, or lacking key pieces of data altogether. It is one thing to enter all the data possible, which is a good practice generally, and quite another to then sift through the data. Data cleansing can be as simple as managing the data once it’s entered, and organizing it in such a way as it can be easily processed. Data cleansing requires knowledge of what data is being reported on, and knowing enough about the data to be able to remove any errors in data. For example, if your company wants to generate a report on sales by region, and has a general data set of all regions, the data clean-up will include breaking out data sets by region, and then ensuring that all data entered, particularly any numbers reflecting sales amounts, is correct and easy to process. Data cleanup makes the processing step easier by leading to the creation of clear data sets.
Should We Outsource our Data Cleansing?
If your company is already outsourcing your data entry, it is feasible that you can outsource your data cleansing. If you do choose to outsource, it is imperative that you choose a company with whom you have had a good working relationship. It is helpful for your data cleaners to have a familiarity of your company and your reporting needs. This is why it may not always work in your favour to outsource your data cleansing. As a company owner or manager, it will be up to you to make the decision around outsourcing. There are many factors involved in this: size of your company, cost of outsourcing versus in-house data cleanup, type of data (i.e. is the data mainly highly confidential client information?) and speed at which you need the data cleansed.
Outsourcing could provide you with more people on the job at the same time, something you may not be able to do if you are doing your data cleansing in-house. A few things to keep in mind if you choose to outsource your data entry include the relationship you have with the company you are outsourcing to, the quality and integrity of the personnel they hire to do your work, the nature and quality of your work, and the assurance of accuracy the company you are about to work with will guarantee. While there may be room in the data entry phase for the odd error in entry to occur, in data cleansing there is very little room for error. Finding a company with a proven track record of a high rate of accuracy in data cleansing will be your best approach.
Data cleansing is an invaluable step in processing and reporting on data. Whether you are a small company or a large company, taking time to ensure an accurate data cleanse will go a long way to the production of accurate, and correct, reports.
– Data Czar @ DEO