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Five Data Cleaning Tricks for a Productive Fall Season
Tuesday, September 26, 2023

Autumn is a season of transformation and preparation. As the leaves change colors and the temperatures drop, October is a time to take a closer look at your internal practices, gearing up for the end-of-year rush.

One significant area often overlooked is the condition of your data.

Studies indicate that nearly 30% of data deteriorates annually due to various factors like personnel transitions, company mergers and more. In the legal sphere, the implications of such data decay can be even more profound.

Fuzzy data can lead to misunderstandings, inaccuracies and, most troublingly, unintended outcomes for clients. The repercussions? Potentially damaging legal implications and a tarnished firm reputation. Imagine the inefficiency of professionals billing hefty amounts per hour, relying on outdated or incorrect contact lists for business development.

Revitalize Your Data This Fall with These Tricks

  1. Audit: Start your data revival by auditing your existing content. Understand the extent of your ‘data mess’ to answer questions like:
  • How outdated is our data?
  • Where are the discrepancies?
  • What’s the cost implication of this degraded data?
  • How can we best address it?

An audit sets the stage for the subsequent steps, providing a clear picture of the work ahead.

  1. Strategize: With your audit in hand, devise a strategy. This roadmap will ensure you have the necessary tools and resources at your disposal. By prioritizing datasets, you can decide which ones need immediate attention and which can be slated for later.

For instance, substantial amounts of compromised data might benefit from an automated cleanup process, ensuring efficiency and cost-effectiveness.

  1. Appoint Data Stewards: Even after an automated cleanup, some data issues might persist. This is where manual data stewards come into play. These individuals can meticulously sift through the data, researching and rectifying inconsistencies. Continuous data stewardship, whether it’s in-house or outsourced, is vital to maintain data integrity.
  2. Identify Erroneous Data Sources: It’s crucial to pinpoint sources that might be aggravating data discrepancies. Existing integrations that cause duplicates or override correct data should be examined closely. Collaboration with other departments can often provide solutions to these challenges.
  3. Embrace Technology: Utilize software solutions to streamline your data quality. Enterprise Relationship Management (ERM) systems, for example, can generate contact records from email signature blocks, invaluable for lawyers pressed for time. Also, these platforms can validate and supplement existing records, reducing the time spent on manual research.

As you don a cozy sweater and sip on a pumpkin latte this fall, remember to tackle your data challenges head-on. Prioritize pressing records, scrutinize frequently used lists, handle time-sensitive projects, and regularly vet your emails for any discrepancies.

Bear in mind that maintaining data quality is an ongoing process, not just a fall fling. The silver lining? There’s always room for improvement, ensuring that your firm remains sharp, efficient and ready to face challenges, regardless of the season.

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