“Your data ages like fine wine, whereas your software applications age like fish”

The above quote, whilst amusing, is not accurate

Data quality, unlike good wine, does not get better with age.

In fact, like wine that has been badly stored, data tends to spoil with age unless we take steps to protect it.

Good data deteriorates through natural attrition.

Maybe your supplier has moved, or your customer has got a new mobile phone or email address. Studies show that customer data deteriorates at a rate of between 25% and 40% per annum .

The addition of new data exacerbates the problem.  Unless we take steps to ensure the quality of data entering the system it is probable that the overall quality of information in any system will get worse over time.

Let’s not spend too much time wondering what will happen when we consolidate or amalgamate data from multiple systems – as is typical when migrating data to a new application such as a CRM or MDM platform. Suffice to say that there is a reason why poor data quality is frequently blamed for the failure of MDM projects to deliver on time, or to meet the business need.

Where the heading does make sense, is that your data will probably outlive your applications. ERP systems, customer systems, even product systems come and go but the historical data lives on.

Data quality is a journey. Taking steps to proactively manage the quality of data is the only way to ensure that the quality of your data will be maintained with age.


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