Data Quality — The Everlasting Quest

Data quality is a challenge in every support organization so if you are struggling, you are not alone! Here are 6 essential processes that must exist to maintain data quality:

  1. A process to define data structures for new products. This is often overlooked, but very important. For instance, if we decide to create a bundle of products A, B, and C, do we record the bundle itself as an asset, or do we record product A, product B, and product C? And how do we record and entitlement for the bundle?
    So called site licenses are often a puzzle for asset management as well. Part of the creation of any new product or packaging or product must include changes in the asset management process.
  2. A process to create new customers, sites, assets, and entitlements. This is usually done in the Sales Operations team. A critical part of the process is to avoid duplication. So if IBM, Inc. makes a new purchase, is it a new logo, or is it the same as our existing customer, IBM (without the Inc.)?
  3. A process to add and update customer contacts. This is usually done in the Support and Customer Success organizations, at least for technical contacts. As contacts are created or updated, they also need to be associated with the right sites, assets, and entitlements.
  4. A process to rectify errors. If a customer name was misspelled, or an account moves to a new location, who can make the change? Note that this may require large-scale changes, for instance if a customer is acquired (or acquires another customer).
  5. A process to renew subscriptions and service contracts. In particular, if a customer renews a subscription, do we simply update the end date of a subscription or do we create a new one? (it’s usually best to update the end date.)
  6. A process to archive data. If a customer has not purchased anything in years, and has no active entitlements, do we still keep the records in the database? What if a customer goes bankrupt?

Several organizations participate in data quality. Product Marketing defines new products, so needs to weigh in on data structures. Sales Operations usually creates new customer assets, and the Support team usually owns ongoing data quality since it has the most urgent need for clean data and also is in direct contact with customers. Smooth communication between the various organizations is key.

How does it work for your organization? Please leave a comment.

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