Windward Insider Blog

The What, How, Why and When of Cleaning Your Data

The What, How, Why and When of Cleaning Your Data
It's important to identify old, incomplete, incorrect or duplicated data, then either delete it or fix it.

Don't leave yourself vulnerable.

Data is something we all take for granted. We may have thousands of emails in our email programs, sometimes dating back ten or twenty years or more.

Many of us just save, save, save at work, at home, on our tablets and phones, and never purge our hard drives.

The fact is, most of us don’t understand data storage – and, frankly, as long as it keeps working, we just don’t care.  

We’re used to “Them” building bigger gadgets, like the terabyte external hard drive.

Or the magical “Cloud,” where “everything is backed up.” We Trust “Them.”

So, we just relax and keep on typing… until disaster strikes.

Unfortunately for business owners, there is a dark side to data.

Every time you store data, it risks a little corruption. This means, a tiny bit of data, or electronic information, gets shaved off a file. Eventually, they add up, like electronic house dust.

Even in Windward System Five software, there’s no automatic dishwasher, car wash or electric toothbrush that scrubs away the accumulated electronic detritus every week.

That’s why it’s so important that, as a business owner, you learn A) What “Clean data” is, and B) How to keep your data clean on a regular basis.

In this article, we’re going to help you understand data cleansing a little better, so that you care enough to call your Windward team to ensure your business data is set up for success- not leaving you vulnerable to disaster.

Dirty Data Versus Clean Data

Just like the house, your business dataset gets “dirty” through the course of a regular work day.

With a robust, analytical software program like Windward System Five, data is even more prone to “dirt.”

Every time a contradiction, disparity, keying mistake, or files are merged; or you use a combination of commands to get a related task to happen; or you have missing bits or duplication, your data gets less efficient and accurate, so it needs to be “cleaned.” (Data cleaning is also called “data cleansing” or “data scrubbing.”)

Data cleaning is more than just data purging, which is simply deleting the old or useless data from a data set to make room for new data.

Data cleaning is intended to make the data in your system as accurate and efficient as possible, through a combination of actions that work together:

♦ Carefully reviewing and correcting or removing corrupt or inaccurate records from the data sets stored in your business management system.

♦ Storage could be in the form of a record set, a table, or your main System Five database.

♦ Identifying old, incomplete, incorrect or duplicated data, then either deleting it or fixing it.

♦ Finding and eliminating syntax errors, typographical errors and fragments of records, or anything that wasn’t formatted properly.

If your businesses relies on large data sets and accurate records for commerce or any other initiative, you need to ensure that your data is cleaned regularly.  

Most Windward customers fall into this category. The average small-to-medium-sized business software system contains tens of thousands of part numbers, customer records, customer and supply accounts, and so on.

Data cleaning tools are available.

These tools save your database administrator a significant amount of time and often cost less than fixing errors manually.

These simple tools run a series of Queries, that do things such as:

◊ Identify the customers whose name prefix or ages are wrong;

◊ Find non-existent customers, or addresses that were entered incorrectly; and

◊ Standardize your records, remove duplicates, and merge matched records into a single record with the highest quality values. 

Data Cleaning tools should be used on a regular basis as inaccurate data levels can increase quickly, leaving your database vulnerable and reducing your business efficiency.

The dirtier the data, the more effort, time and cost is required, to run your business as well as repair it, should disaster strike.

Regular Data cleansing is a valuable process. In the long run, it helps your business save time and improves your transaction efficiency across the whole business.

Several integrity checking utilities are built into System Five to correct problems, help keep your data clean and offer early warning signals. Learn more in our upcoming free Implementation Webinar on September 5. Click Here to Register.
It is important to clean your data before you do a system backup, which we will discuss next week.

Please call your Account Manager today and ask us how you can ensure your data is clean and stays that way: +1 (800) 663-5750.

If you are not yet a Windward customer, please call our Business Development Team to discuss how your business can be set up for success: +1 (800) 663-5750 or click here to book a Free Trial.

Cleaning your data is a necessary part of doing business. Windward's free implementation webinars, your Account Manager, and our 24/7 live Support team are all here for you.
But it’s up to you to make the first move and call us today to get your plan in place to clean your data, and then back it up properly.
Please don't wait for a data disaster. Call us today: +1 (800) 663-5750.

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