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In marketing, sales, IT, or any other job, you need to have access clean, reliable data for your decisions. This is where data management comes in -and that’s the reason it’s one of the most important technology trends to watch in 2018.

Data management is the field that encompasses all disciplines relating to treating data as an asset and ensuring its accuracy and reliability. This includes everything from data design to the implementation of analytics and data systems, to managing the storage lifecycle of your company’s data.

A solid data management strategy consists of six core, or primary characteristics:

Accuracy — the information should be based on actual, real-world objects and events, and should be verified using reliable sources.

Completeness — the information must provide all mandatory values for a specific use case for example, such as sending a letter to a customer using only their last name.

Consistency Data should remain consistent across all data sets, and remain the same even when it is changed or organized.

Accessibility — the information should be accessible to those who need it without compromising compliance requirements.

A data management program is only effective if all departments and business units are all on board. This is particularly important since faulty data could have a costly impact on your business. IBM estimates that poor handling of data costs the U.S. economy $3.1 trillion per year in lost productivity, and costs associated with maintaining data.