GIGO Is Impacting Decision Making – and Not in a Good Way


Some decision makers will talk the talk about leveraging data to increase revenue and better serve their customers. But when it comes to walking the walk, they stumble.

Although the data ecosystem has spawned a dictionary of buzzwords such as “predictive analytics,” “Hadoop,” and even the term “Big Data” itself, many remain skeptical about the quality behind the buzzwords. It’s the GIGO syndrome – Garbage In, Garbage Out – and it’s affecting businesses both small and large.

In a study of more than 1,400 data professionals, conducted by information services company Experian, 84% of US respondents say Big Data is essential to successfully executing their business strategies.

But while they recognize the power of data, they lack confidence in their own information; the study noted that businesses believe 27% of their data is inaccurate.

To be reliable and valid, data input must be complete and linked across all input sources, as well as accurate, consistent, and timely.

Unfortunately, many businesses are hampered by legacy data collection methods or siloed corporate structures that undermine the confidence in the quality of the data they collect.

Obviously, conclusions based on faulty data are useless or even misleading, so strategists are reluctant to base new initiatives, fiscal decisions, or significant operating changes solely on their own data.

However, even with data of proven quality, many still rely on educated guesses or gut feelings when making critical decisions or planning future strategies.

The result: The GIGO syndrome is slowing or eliminating many business growth opportunities, and with that, success.