The Importance of Data Quality

“The value of data quality improvement programs are often understated in business cases by a factor of 3. Most companies do not understand all the downstream systems and resources that are impacted by poor data quality. There are hidden costs everywhere that are hard to find and measure - but they are real”
- Maria Villiar
  Global VP, Data Management and Governance at SAP


For the last 50 years, Peterson’s Data has been collecting, analyzing, and publishing education data. Peterson’s data has helped guide decision-making from prospective students looking at colleges to CEOs of large educational technology companies. As an industry leader, Peterson’s is trusted by companies from large financial institutions to some of the world’s largest fast-casual restaurants because of the quality of our data. The importance of data quality is often overlooked until it becomes a problem. A valuable framework to think about data quality is as follows:

Accuracy – Despecenes or errors in data that get published, built into tools used by customers, or used to make key strategic decisions can cause lasting negative impacts to your business.

Relevance – Numbers don’t lie, but numbers don’t mean anything if they are outdated. We have seen a massive change in how institutions operate, and there will be more change coming. Data from even a few years ago can no longer be considered relevant, and it is essential to think about the long term consequences of non-relevant data.

Validity – How is your data being collected and formatted? Are you working with a team that can manipulate and organize data to ensure it can be used in your tools?

Consistent – Is the data the same across all your databases? Inconsistent data can wreak havoc on internal teams and customers alike. This can cause different hypotheses to arise, which will slow down decision making.

As companies working in the higher education space think about product improvement, new tools to support customers, and long term planning, we suggest examining their data quality. Do not overlook the value that data plays in your business. Low-quality data might not seem like a problem today, but ignoring potential issues today will cost you time and money tomorrow.

As always, feel free to reach out to the Peterson’s Data team with any questions about higher education data.

Jack Tynan

Comments are closed.