The worst errors in your data are the ones you don’t know about. Bad data can lead to problems with record keeping, compliance, and more. Worse yet, it’s hard to make data-driven decisions if you can’t rely on your data to be accurate. There are several ways to improve and maintain your data integrity. The problem is many of them are labor-intensive, or involve introducing sweeping new processes. Often, the biggest challenge in maintaining data integrity is getting your organization on board for a new way of doing things. So what’s a NetSuite administrator to do? Here’s one way that iCharts helps you maintain data integrity without rewriting the book on your processes.
Shining a light on errors
Whatever your approach to data integrity, the first step is identifying errors. This isn’t always easy. Errors, and their sources, can go undetected for months, even with someone looking for them. Sometimes the only reason you discover an error is because it’s already caused a problem for your business. Another approach is to look through your NetSuite data for something off, but it’s easy to miss things in an endless scroll of data points.
When you use iCharts, it’s easy to spot data points that seem like outliers, because they literally stick out. If you see a trend line and at one point it jumps off the charts, it’s worth investigating. On a spreadsheet, the difference between $10.56 and $100.56 is an extra zero. On a chart, the same discrepancy is almost impossible to miss, because it’s visually out of place.
Once you identify an error, it’s much easier to track down its source. Perhaps it was someone’s slip of a finger, or a misreading of a paper receipt. If this happens frequently, you may consider automating certain aspects of your data capturing processes. You may also find more pervasive errors that lead to discoveries like faulty sensors, missing processes, or an employee who rushes through data entry.
A practical solution when resources are tight
Ideally, your organization should use a number of safeguards and contingencies to ensure your data integrity, but this isn’t always an option. Many companies lack the money, manpower, and time to set up a proper data integrity plan. Too often, it falls to the company’s NetSuite administrator to keep data in order. It’s also easy for data integrity to take a back seat to more pressing matters like preparing for a big meeting or analyzing KPIs.
Using iCharts to identify errors after the fact isn’t an ideal solution, but it’s a practical way to help maintain data integrity when you have limited resources. It can also help as part of a larger data integrity plan as a last line of defense. Most data integrity experts will tell you that the more you do to verify your data, the better. The approach we’ve outlined here is one more way to protect the integrity of your data, and you get the benefits without adding any cumbersome processes or going out of your way.
To learn more about maintaining data integrity, look out for our upcoming ebook, “How to Prepare for BI and Analytics,” or check out our resources page.