Spring cleaning: A systematic purge of your data

In the digitization age, data is the new gold. Therefore, everyone is busy collecting data. But have you asked yourself yet where to put the vast amounts of useless data? That’s where data management comes in! We can show you how to deal with obsolete customer data in your CRM system and what will help you sort through them wisely.

Without professional data management, the data lake quickly turns into a data swamp

Store – archive – delete

When we talk about the hoarding of data, the third item in particular – delete–, is easily overlooked. At the same time, there is more than just a hygiene aspect to the purging of data: The European General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) defines when and for how long a company can retain data, and which data a business can store.

“What would be helpful in this scenario is a data blocking and deleting concept that, just like a vacuum cleaner, continuously sweeps and brushes away data dust.”

Fabian WüestBSI CRM and Data Protection Expert at BSI

If you purchased a new electric bike two years ago, for example, and it has a 2-year warranty, the e-bike company is permitted to keep your information only as long as is necessary to fulfill the contract. This means that they could retain it until the end of the warranty period unless you agreed that they could continue to process your data for advertising or information purposes. Even then, not all data is relevant.

The smart data cleanup in six steps

We have consolidated our 22 years of experience with hundreds of CRM projects in six steps for you.

  1. An overall consideration: It is useful for a company to look at the “data” topic from a holistic perspective. This would include discussions about which data is truly important to them. Using data as an island solution for an application only increases the cost and effort.
  2. The legal framework: Which data should you purge? To get to the bottom of this, we have to answer the following three questions: Which data would you like to retain? Which data are you allowed to retain for data protection reasons? And, which data do you have to retain?
  3. The two-step purge: The two-step data cleanup has proven to be the best method: First, you put the data away (like old clothes that you put in the basement). Then, you delete them forever (you dispose of them once and for all by putting them in the second-hand clothes bag and have them picked up).
  4. Clean up what? It is also helpful to ask yourself what exactly you would like to clean up: Is it entire files pertaining to (no longer active) customers, or is it obsolete information regarding current customers that is no longer relevant?
  5. The continuous cleanup: Just like at home, cleaning up data should be considered a continuous activity. What is helpful to have in this process is a block or delete concept that, as an automatic part of the BSI CRM system, for example, continuously sweeps and brushes away data dust, just like a vacuum cleaner.
  6. The correction of incorrect data: It is worthwhile to correct wrongly entered data in the original system; if you don’t, there is a risk of recurring errors. To prevent incorrect input in the future, smart fields in your CRM system might help (for the automatic recognition of errors or the completion of zip codes, etc.).

Declutter other areas

Once the data is under control, you can tackle other issues. One of my favorite topics is processes. It makes life so much easier when you update and simplify them. There is much less to clean up overall then.

“Even in state-of-the-art software, one repeatedly comes across features that are no longer needed. Why not just get rid of them?”

Fabian WüestBSI CRM and Data Protection Expert at BSI

Incidentally, you can declutter software, too. Even the apps that were once top-notch have a life cycle. Plus, even in state-of-the-art software, you repeatedly come across features that are no longer needed, such as rarely or never used attributes. Why not just get rid of them?

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