How much is your data costing you?

By Sameer Athalye

Any meaningful conversation about the value of customer data must start with the same question: What is the real cost of your customer data? 

Many companies only consider the licensing costs of software, hardware, and services — but that view is incomplete. The total cost of ownership (TCO) accounts for all the costs associated with customer data, including licensing, deployment, configuration, onboarding, and on-going maintenance. 

Productivity is often overlooked

When you’re looking at reducing the total cost of your data investment, the first area to consider is employee productivity. If even 10 employees spend just 20% of their time finding and preparing data before it’s ready to use, unhealthy data is costing you hundreds of thousands of dollars every year. And that could be a conservative estimate. A full one-third of analysts report that they spend 40% of their time vetting and validating data — and full-time analysts are not your only data consumers. 

Anyone in your organization who relies on data to run reports or plan campaigns may be suffering if your customer data is not healthy. Now let’s look at the efficiency of the data producers that are tasked with maintaining and providing access to usable data. Hand coding and cumbersome manual data pipelines take much longer to execute than streamlined, automated processes. And when ad hoc solutions and poor documentation predictably result in data that’s fragmented, inconsistent, and siloed, everyone in the organization pays the price. 

Two ways to save money

Investing in technology for better data management could significantly reduce the cost of your customer data in two key ways: 

  • Data integration: Consider the cost of manual data integration. A typical organization has multiple full-time data engineers with six-figure salaries spending weeks or months ingesting and migrating customer data from a sprawling network of data sources. It’s obvious that hand-coding can’t be a sustainable option, especially when the data sources keep growing in size and numbers. By automating and streamlining these processes, data integration technology cuts the time and cost of data integration down to a fraction of manual processes. 
  • Data quality: Preparing data for use can be an even bigger resource sink than data integration, with serious potential consequences if anything goes wrong. Technology for data integrity and governance can not only cut those costs by up to 70%; it provides better visibility into the quality of your data, gives you confidence that things are going well, and alerts you when something is amiss so you can correct data issues before they become real problems. 

Data and LOB leaders must partner up

To drive tangible business impact, data leaders need to be strategic partners of line-of-business leaders in marketing and sales. This is possible when functional groups can align and focus on achieving topline revenue and cost control. 

Data health gives IT and data leaders and line-of-business leaders a common vocabulary to discuss how data can drive long-term business success for the organization. It is time to stop thinking of management of data as a cost center and start treating it like the profit center it can be. 

To learn more about the relationship between data health and successfully fulfilling the customer 360 promise, we invite you to explore additional resources in our data health knowledge center.