Edgenet's Dana Becker
What do trailing white spaces have to do with quality data? Dana Becker knows. The Edge recently performed an email interview with Dana, a product data expert who has risen through the ranks to her position of data manager.
EDGE: Tell everyone who you are and what you do.
DB: My name is Dana Becker. As a Data Manager II, my main responsibility is to work with Edgenet’s partners to define and create data collection processes. I ensure the data sent from Edgenet includes all the needed attributes and meets data quality standards for each recipient.
As a part of the Data Management team, I currently manage accounts such as Google, Bing, eBay, Fastenal, Coburn Supply, and Noble Supply & Logistics. The data manager position requires an understanding of data applications and process development. In addition, analytical and creative problem-solving skills and strong communication skills are necessary.
EDGE: Does each retailer or search engine require different attributes and quality levels? Why? Is there one file type or attribute that practically every retailer or search engine requires?
DB: Every retailer and shopping engine is looking for “good” data – they know that’s what sells products. Most recipients are asking for the same pieces of data… usually just in a slightly different format. In Ezeedata Commerce, we collect the core product information that all retailers need. Our team has also implemented data quality standards related to correctness and completeness.
For example, Product Image, Product Name, and several other marketing attributes will be required for each item. As this data is entered, Edgenet analyzes it to make sure the Product Image is the correct size, the Product Name is in the correct format without spelling errors, etc. The more complete and correct the data is, the higher the data quality score will be.
Each recipient has a minimum data quality level requirement. Certain recipients have extra requirements for information that is specific to their business, and in some cases we help collect those too. These data quality standards give suppliers reassurance, knowing their data is evaluated before it’s sent out to recipients. In addition, retailers and shopping engines can be confident that data they receive from Edgenet is accurate and complete.
EDGE: How important is the Ezeedata score actually? Have you seen retailers or search engines relying on the score or certification as a true indication of good data? Or is the score more important to us internally?
DB: Data quality scoring is a relatively new concept, and we are already seeing it used by many recipients. Some recipients, such as Google and Bing, are actually displaying it online. Others are incorporating data quality scores into supplier performance metrics and vendor scorecards. For Ezeedata Commerce customers, data quality scores give them a way to measure their progress and improvement. They also can use it to see how their scores compares to data from their competition…. great motivation!
EDGE: One objection we hear from suppliers is that their data is fine – that they don’t need any help optimizing or delivering it to an endpoint. If you had to guess, what percentage of supplier data that you’ve seen is fine when you encounter it? Is there a common area that suppliers fail to deliver?
DB: Well, the data probably does seem fine to the supplier. But let’s be realistic.. with manual data entry, there is always room for error.
How often do you check for trailing white spaces at the end of a word or sentence? Sure, if you’re entering and reviewing data for one item you might catch a mistake like that… but what happens when you are looking at hundreds or thousands of items? With our system’s quality checks, we find these types of issues that can easily be missed.
Small inconsistencies, like the one listed above, can prevent customers from finding products online. Retailers need certain pieces of data to be normalized for search capabilities on their websites. Retailers want customers to be able to filter product results based on product type, color, size, brand, etc. so they are more likely to find what they’re looking for to make a purchase.
For example, if a customer filters on products that are “Red” and your product is listed as “Bright Red,” it may not show up in their results… and you may have just missed a chance at a sale. Most of the supplier data I’ve seen has room for improvement and some sort of data quality issues.
Suppliers who use Edgenet’s Supplier Portal will have better data because we guide them through each attribute with specific instructions and notify them of any issues.
EDGE: Is there a funniest/craziest data story you’ve seen through all the years and different partners you’ve worked with?
DB: The craziest data issue I’ve seen is a company spelled their Brand Name wrong for all of their products. Easy mistake to make… but it’s a big one!