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Whether you’re in marketing, sales, IT, or any other business function, you’ll need to have access to accurate, reliable data to make your decisions. This is where good data management comes into play -and that’s the reason it’s a top trend in technology to watch in 2018.

Data management is the discipline that encompasses all disciplines relating to treating data as an asset and guaranteeing its accuracy and reliability. That includes everything from data design to the deployment of analytics and data systems to managing the storage lifecycle of your business’s data.

A sound data management strategy includes six fundamental attributes or the six core attributes:

Accuracy – the data must reflect actual, live objects and events. It should also be confirmed by reliable sources.

Completeness — The information must include all the mandatory values such as sending an email to a customer with only their last names.

Consistency – the data should be consistent across all data sets and remain that way when updated or reorganized.

Accessibility – The data should be easily accessible to those who require it without any compromise to the compliance standards.

A data management strategy is only effective when all departments and business units are fully on board. This is especially crucial since the consequences of inaccurate data can be expensive for your company. For instance an IBM study estimated that poor management of data costs the U.S economy $3.1 trillion a year in lost productivity and the costs related to maintaining data.