ROIThe good news: Accurate data will reap big rewards for the business.
Data cleansing will cramp your budget, no question. And its not only the cost of the software, which analysts say can range anywhere between $100,000 and $500,000 depending on company size and the amount of data you need to clean. To that, add any custom tools, and dont forget to tack on the cost of employee labor and training. Rybeck, of Emerson Process Management, says her rollout cost roughly $250,000, while Gregory of Hogan & Hartson says his company has spent roughly $100,000 thus far. And though vendors say installing the software should take from three to six months, it will likely take much longer to actually clean the data. Its a significant commitment, which is why most vendors right now cater to large-cap companies. For smaller companies, says Friedman, an outsourced approach might be the way to go. "A midsize company may not have the skills or the resources to be successful" with an in-house initiative, he says. But regardless of company size, "the most important thing is to think of data quality in a broad waynot just in the context of CRM or data warehousing, but as a business discipline." Even so, as much money and time as it requires, data cleansing isnt going to be hard to justify once business managers understand the rewards. While companies cant always put a dollar figure on the return on their data-cleansing investment, they can cite better control and reduced costs of their marketing campaigns, the ability to cross- and up-sell valuable customers, improve supply chain efficiency and reduce risk.
Riese at Saab Cars, for example, says his data-cleansing initiative has saved the company tens of thousands of dollars because they can now do customized marketing campaigns in-house instead of hiring a third party. And, he says, more accurate matching of potential customers to dealers has helped the company increase sales. "The entire process of assigning a lead to a dealer and then following up on the back end, we have that nailed now. Last year was the best sales year in Saabs history, and I think what we have done has contributed to that."
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