Make your data fit for purpose: 3 steps of a comprehensive data audit

Businesses have a lot of data, but finding insights is difficult. How can a comprehensive data audit help?
06 October 2021
data audit
Amanpreet Soin

Vice President, Data Strategy & Engineering

Adil Pereira

Partner, Data Strategy & Engineering

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Having multiple sources of data allows you to answer questions more accurately. But these data sources are rarely well organized and categorized, which leads to costly complications when you try to bring them all together. Without a data audit, you can easily spend a significant amount of time – and tie up precious internal resources – trying to integrate and analyze your data.

What is a data audit?

A data audit is a proactive process designed to:

  • Understand and categorize your available data
  • Gain a clear view of your current technical platforms and capabilities
  • Know what business questions you can answer with your data
  • Create a strategic plan for how to use the data to its full potential

A data audit typically takes 4-6 weeks and should be conducted by analytics experts who work closely with stakeholders, and who understand how the data will ultimately be applied throughout your organization. The best data audit teams have deep experience and an independent perspective that lays the groundwork for future insights needs.

A good data audit helps identify both short-term wins and long-term foundations for data-driven insights.

3 steps of a comprehensive data audit:

  1. Business Discovery: Interviewing stakeholders to understand the business questions that your organization needs to solve and identifying best practices to apply.
  2. Data Discovery: Reviewing disparate sources of data to determine what data you have, where it resides, what format the data is in, and who has access to the data. This includes reviewing multi-country implementations, the frequency of data availability, and any changing data formats.
  3. Technology Discovery: Outlining available technology and future roadmap to store, access, process and disseminate information.

Key deliverable: an analytics charter

A thorough data audit results in an analytics charter — a detailed roadmap that shows you how to get answers from your data as quickly and successfully as possible.

The charter should deliver a long-term strategy for successfully collecting, analyzing, and utilizing your data. In addition, a good charter will prioritize your data-related business goals and match your needs to specific data sets.

The risks of not performing a data audit

Many organizations attempt to save time and money by skipping a data audit, only to regret their decision when they try to get meaningful insights out of their data. Not performing a thorough data audit poses numerous risks, including:

  • Investing resources in the wrong priorities
  • Misaligning short-term goals with your long-term vision
  • Missing opportunities to break down organizational silos
  • Overlooking key future use cases for your data

Kantar: the marketing data experts

The world’s leading companies trust Kantar for data audits because of our unparalleled expertise and experience. We specialize in analyzing marketing data sets and helping organizations make smarter, faster decisions. Kantar’s specialists have a thorough understanding of the complexity and nuances of marketing data sets, and routinely handle every step of the data insights process — including data engineering with Olympus, our platform with built-in artificial intelligence and machine learning.

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