Spring is the traditional time to remove the winter blues from a home and clear out the clutter collected since the last good cleanout. There’s a lot to be said for the notion of spring cleaning, but even though most users are happy to scour their homes and businesses and throw out any unused and unnecessary items, they balk at the idea of doing the same for the seemingly endless stream of data they collect.
These days, users seem to be inundated with data that they have to have. From multiple phone numbers and e-mail addresses for the same person, to copies of copies of documents, people hoard information – whether it’s personal or professional.
Louise Robinson, sales director of specialist database provider Database 360, a division of CG Consulting, points out that this even extends to behaviour on social networks.
“Lots of information seems to provide a sense of security for people in much the same way lots of friends on Facebook or lots of followers on Twitter seem to offer social security – even if you don’t actually know these people in real life.”

She cites a recent IDC study, which predicts that overall data will grow by 50 times by 2020, and that unstructured information – such as files, e-mail and video – will account for 90% of all data created over the next decade, as an illustration of how much harder it will get to sort all the data streaming through consumers’ corporate and personal lives.
“From a corporate perspective, the practice of backing up data and ensuring that your business has all the information it needs is extremely necessary. However, more is not always better when it comes to your business databases,” she says.

“Sales managers like to boast about owning large databases, but all too often those databases are littered with obsolete contacts and incorrect details. These are usually the same sales managers who wonder why their large databases provide so little real return in terms of clients.”

She points out that regular “spring cleaning” of a database ensures its integrity and provides much better return on investment.
“Removing unneeded data is a good housekeeping strategy that all managers of a database should practice. Weeding out obsolete or incorrect data leaves a database easy to use and maintain. Deleting names seems drastic but it’s not that scary – it’s easy: just press delete when you know the contact is no longer active.
“Some databases I have seen contain information that is close to being decades out of date, and sending out e-mails to dead people is a complete waste of time.”
She adds that fashions change, so people change their clothes and décor regularly to ensure they are not out of date. “The same applies to data. When old, outdated information is what it populating your database, it’s time to delete and get new updated information.”
As a vital part of its business, Database 360 ensures that the databases it provides its clients are not only relevant, but that they contain only active and accurate contacts. In fact, the company does not just provide databases, it is an outsourced/outbound lead-generation company that helps customers build their pipelines by doing all of the schlep work – including management of the database.
“Data is like milk. It’s great in the beginning, but it goes off and gets sour with time,” Robinson explains. “We throw the off milk away, so why not do the same for unnecessary and incorrect data?”