May 8, 2019

Why You Need to Multi-source Your Data

Eric Kider - Senior Vice President

Are you getting the insights needed to drive your business forward? Leveraging multiple data sources to fuel your organization’s systems and associated processes is key to ensuring your success.

“Not everything that can be counted counts, and not everything that counts can be counted.” Albert Einstein

Turning data into insights and then specific actions required to achieve your business goals is what most organizations strive to accomplish on a daily basis.  One would think with data being so readily available this should be an ‘easy do’.  However, most companies are still facing challenges around how best to determine which source, or sources, of data can they trust.

Today, more than ever, data is available from many sources, channels, etc. In most situations it’s not a matter of data not being available or accessible, it’s more a question of which source or content to use.  Many business and consumer information providers claim to have ‘the most records’ or ‘the most accurate’ data available.  Terms like ‘the best’ or ‘the biggest’ or even ‘most accurate’ are irrelevant if the company is unable to ingest, analyze and/or formulate clear conclusions from the data.

Unfortunately, even with the ease and access to data, there is still no ‘single source of truth’ a company can turn to or rely upon which is why applying a multi-source data acquisition and processing strategy is critical.

So, how is one to decide?  Here are a few recommendations:

First, you need to differentiate and identify those who are true data aggregators vs. those who are re-sellers/ licensing organizations.  It’s important to identify and engage with data providers who are responsible for and possess clearly defined end-to-end data acquisition, processing, validation and verification processes.

Second, review the types of sources they leverage, the frequency their data is updated (‘refreshed’), and the level and type of content captured.  Some organizations focus solely on offering business data, others specialize in consumer while only a few offer a full suite of consumer and business data.  Be sure to review samples of their consumer data and/or the specific business credit reports available to see whether the content offered meets your specific business needs and use case.

Third, having multiple data sources doesn’t need to break your budget.  Not all data has to be expensive.  When evaluating the data providers be sure not to get swayed by price.  You need to assess those data providers that offer solutions that meet your current needs, as well as can grow and evolve with your business priorities.  Determining which provider will be your ‘primary’ source and which will be your ‘secondary’ is critical to maximize your RODI (Return on Data Investment).  Most organizations identify two (or three) data providers to develop a best ‘data model’ approach to support their business systems.

Lastly, be sure to identify data providers to choose who are well respected and provide services that go beyond data.  Data is the fuel that powers your organization.  However, if the data and associated services don’t operate in a seamless, value-driven way then your business investment will be sub-optimized.  Take the time to identify data providers that possess solutions that can enable your Credit Decisioning, Risk Management, Sales, Marketing and Compliance activities.