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Data Enrichment: Looking Under the Hood

Establishing a data-driven culture isn’t just about having confidence and trust in data. It’s also about taking steps to ensure data is continually usable and relevant. While data governance is an important component to address this, there’s another crucial data activity that serves the same objective, and more. We’re talking about data enrichment.

Data enrichment is the process of incorporating data from internal or third-party systems into existing data sets. By adding this contextual information, the data sets will be of better use to an organization in their daily operations and in decision-making situations.

Benefits of Data Enrichment

While it’s fairly obvious why you should enrich customer data, it’s worth enriching other data domains too, like suppliers, materials, and finished goods. You’ll find that the advantages can extend beyond increased customer satisfaction and sales.

Customer Data

Enriching customer data with demographical and geographical information as well as purchasing history is the first step towards knowing your customers better. This way, you can segment your customers and formulate the right communication strategies for each segment.

For example, you might want to offer discounts for customers that have bought your product 6 to 12 months ago to re-establish connection and foster loyalty. Or if you have DOB data, you can send personalized greetings and special offers to them on their birthday. This is what targeted marketing is all about.
Leveraging enriched customer data to create meaningful and personalized engagement with customers leads to increased sales and profitability.

Supplier Data

Having complete supplier data isn’t for the sole purpose of knowing what suppliers sell and at what price. To mitigate external risks, it’s important to run a background check of these suppliers. Enriching supplier data with third-party sources like Dun & Bradstreet enables you to acquire details like their financial standings and credit worthiness. This helps you decide whether it’s worth building a partnership with them.

And this isn’t a one-way street. Allowing your suppliers to do self-onboarding and enrich their own data like addresses and account details on your system shifts the responsibility to them. This eliminates data entry errors by your own personnel and avoids future complications like wrong account details when it’s time to credit payment.
This enables better communication with your suppliers, hence establishing fruitful partnership with them.

Material Data

Enriching your data with industry standards allows you to follow best practices and be in the same league as key players in your industry. This ensures business and operational excellence, as well as governance and compliance.
To illustrate an example, asset-intensive companies would want to catalog their materials and enrich the attributes following UNSPSC standards. This way, they’re able to describe the spares and materials in a common way for their suppliers to correctly identify them. This avoids the need to refer to in-house catalogues or specifications that can be unstandardized or hard to understand.

Your Employees Benefit the Most

As more relevant information is available at their fingertips through data enrichment, your employees will be more competent in carrying out their duties. And this isn’t restricted to customer-facing jobs. Employees in various roles can start to answer business and operational questions with deeper insights compared to when dealing with un-enriched, raw data.

This way, they can contribute to initiatives that directly support company’s strategic KPIs. Being recognized through their contributions would definitely boost their morale and loyalty towards the company. Having highly-motivated, knowledgeable employees is really a company’s secret weapon to be more competitive and profitable in their industry.

Final Enriching Thought

Data enrichment is truly an interesting prospect. But first, you need to know what business problems you want to solve before determining which data domains to enrich and the sources to pull the enrichment from. Granted, data keeps on changing. So, it’s worth automating the data enrichment process to ensure your data is thoroughly updated.
Every organization should have data enrichment in their arsenal for their journey towards becoming a data-driven culture.

Written by: Shigim Yusof