Understanding the data life cycle in Microsoft Dynamics 365

Successful data quality management is essential for organisations to realise the potential of their Microsoft Dynamics 365 systems

Understanding the data life cycle in Microsoft Dynamics 365

Poor data quality is seriously impacting organisations today, and it’s a problem that is only becoming worse. In a survey conducted by Experian Data Quality, 68 per cent of organisations said that their contact data is decaying faster than ever, and 72 per cent said they have so much data that it is difficult to prioritise where data management can add the most value.  

Without a sustainable data solution, businesses can end up wasting resources, negatively affecting the customer experience and compromising their ability to adapt quickly to changing environments. It’s crucially important that an organisation implements its data management strategy successfully. 

Experian has identified four essential stages of successful data quality management for Microsoft Dynamics 365, the first of which is a successful data migration to the new system. It’s important to fully assess the quality of your legacy data before embarking on a migration, and similarly to assess it after the move is complete. By doing so, organisations can ensure that a new Dynamics system is implemented on time and on budget and fulfils its promise to ensure good user acceptance from the outset. 

Secondly, its crucial to ensure that bad data does not get into the system. Experian provides solutions to capture, standardise, validate, and enrich postal addresses, email addresses, and phone numbers globally in real-time within your Dynamics 365 Customer Engagement apps. When a user creates or edits a contact, lead or account record, the app works within the form to check and correct the customer’s contact data before it enters your system. All of which allow for greater insight into your customers so you can deliver more effective customer communications, improve campaign effectiveness and operational efficiencies.  

We can also provide Identity Resolution, a data management process that checks, validates and appends information across devices and digital footprints using a unique matching process to create a single, data-rich profile for a person or business. It resolves customer data duplications and inconsistencies using both data management techniques and trusted reference data in tandem. More importantly, maintaining the quality of your data will streamline the user experience and improve the return on investment on your Dynamics 365 systems. 

The third stage is to enrich your reference data. This can include gaining all kinds of additional information of a person or business to enable you to build a more accurate picture of your customers for enhanced operational efficiency and customer experience. For example, you could access information about a person’s date of birth, dwelling information or demographic data. Meanwhile. you can identify whether an address is multi-residence, what its unique delivery point reference number is, or if it is under construction. You can also carry out geocoding to identify its precise location, among many other details.  

Finally, organisations must maintain their data through routine cleansing to prevent it from degrading in quality. For example, three million people in England and Wales moved home in 2019, while a further 219,850 got married and 85,000 changed their names by deed poll. Without constant action to ensure that records are kept up to date, these changes will very quickly leave organisations with poor quality data. 

At Experian, we support organisations of all sizes and sectors as part of our global data quality partner programme. Among these partners is Yodel, one of the UK’s largest courier companies which delivers over 190 million parcels nationwide each year. Using Experian’s address validation and cleansing solutions and its Location Complete dataset, Yodel was able to introduce comprehensive data quality checks and remediation across the channels where it captures postal address. As a result, first-time delivery rates have increased by five per cent, the equivalent of 300,000 additional parcels reaching their intended destination every single year.  

"We needed a partner that truly understands our business, who we could work closely with, and has the tools to handle the high volumes of data that we are processing,” said Ashraf Adil, director of DevOps at Yodel. “Experian continues to be that partner for us." 

By placing the power of data and our expertise in the hands of our customers, Experian is helping them to build a better future with confidence.  

Steve Farr is vice president of solutions and markets, and Sanaz Zarkesh is product manager for Dynamics 365 at Experian 

This article was originally published in the Autumn 2022 issue of Technology Record. To get future issues delivered directly to your inbox, sign up for a free subscription.

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