Data quality management best practices include the creation and maintenance of documentation. This may include the Solution Design Documents for your analytics deployment, change logs in your TMS, or other files that map the strategy to the deployment of tags across your digital assets. Maintenance of these documents serves as the basis of formal audits of your web-based data collection processes and a reference for external business units who need to understand various shades of detail about your company’s data collection practices.
The best practice is a quarterly review of the document with updating as necessary to maintain an accurate reflection of which data is being collected, where, and why.
In an ideal world
Companies often spend a great deal of time developing lengthy documentation describing data collection deployment, only for them to remain untouched over time. Meanwhile online properties change rapidly; data collection changes almost constantly; new technologies are added; technologies are dropped; campaigns are launched and expired.
Then, when someone has a valid question about why or how data is being collected, there is only tribal knowledge but very little real, reliable documentation. Getting real answers becomes an exercise in futility and so consultants are hired and the cycle begins again.
Leverage Audits for Documentation
Documentation can be powered by a robust data quality management platform. Your documentation needs can be fully met by a data quality management system. According to Tim Munsell, Lead Web Analyst at DaveRamsey.com, “The report we get from ObservePoint is a more useful and accurate reflection of our implementation than our original documentation. We are able to export our audit to Excel and essentially work backwards, making sure that the data collected on each page on our site matches our business requirements.”
The beauty of audit reports is that they are a true-to-life assessment of what tags are actually doing on your site, instead of a theoretical design that is later deployed and eroded over time. Data exports from ObservePoint can be packaged for a variety of users to address their specific needs much quicker than an SDR can be generated or updated.
This post is based on the white paper Data Quality and the Digital World by Eric T. Peterson, principal consultant at Web Analytics Demystified.
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