Don’t Get Trapped by Bad Data Collection

As businesses grow dependent on the use of big data analysis to guide strategic decision-making, the quality of the information becomes even more critical.

Faulty data collection can derail attempts to put it to use. The guiding principle of GIGO (garbage in, garbage out) in programming remains just as true today as it was when coined in 1957. Data is useless if it’s incomplete, mislabeled, or faulty.

This makes it vital for companies to have oversight of data collection. Purchasing third-party data from an outside source means a business has no direct control over its quality, jeopardizing its usefulness.

Third-Party Data Problems

Writing in “Predictably inaccurate: The prevalence and perils of bad big data,” authors John Lucker, Susan K. Hogan, and Trevor Bischoff warn that faulty third-party data is a very real hazard for businesses. Without oversight of data collection techniques, companies can face serious issues with the integrity of the data:  

Our survey findings suggest that the data that brokers sell not only has serious accuracy problems, but may be less current or complete than data buyers expect or need… The impacts of inaccurate or incomplete data are many, ranging from missed opportunities to just plain misses.

… Specifically, overconfidence in the accuracy of both original and purchased data can lead to a false sense of security that can compromise these efforts to such an extent that it undermines the overall strategy.

Data Collection Done Right

Purchasing third-party data may seem like a cost-effective decision on the surface, but spending money to purchase incomplete or bad data, then turning around and investing more to clean it up is far less efficient. Directly collecting and managing data means a business can ensure its quality. Companies can save money in the long run by implementing best data collection practices.

If your business needs help implementing quality data collection and management systems, the data science experts at LMS can help. Call us at 800.257.5902 to learn more or message us at


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