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Conducting A Data Audit Now Can Drive Greater Efficiencies Next Year

October 19, 2023  //  BY Nicole Herold

Streaming services have not only completely changed the way Americans consume news and entertainment, but their sheer proliferation has also overwhelmed many consumers who don’t always realize all of the services they have or even if they are using them all. In fact, a recent Forbes Home survey found that 47% of people pay for streaming services that go unused.

This analogy may resonate with many large-scale data users—lenders, marketers and government agencies, for example– that work with numerous real estate data providers. It can be a lot to keep track of which data resources are being used – and how often – and by which parts of your business. In some instances, it could be that your company isn’t taking full advantage of these data sources or might be paying for data you’re not even using.

In many organizations, the budgeting process for the new year is finalized in Q4, making this a good time to consider conducting a data audit to assess the quality of your current data resources, determine usage across the enterprise, and identify opportunities for cost-savings consolidation. Armed with this information, you may find that moving to a single-source provider will improve the benefits and increase the ROI on your data resources. Here are five questions to consider asking if you take this approach.

1. How current is the data that you are receiving from your providers?

It isn’t just what data can be made available, but rather how current that data is when it arrives. Fresher data can yield better business opportunities. Companies that sell services to new homeowners – landscapers, cable companies, big-box retailers, etc.– want data on new sales as fast as possible. Having this data a week or even a few days ahead of the competition can be the difference between winning or losing a new account.

Likewise, a servicer with properties in a super lien state needs to know about a homeowners association (HOA) lien as soon as possible before the lien results in a foreclosure action.

2. What is the data provider’s geographic coverage and their willingness to consult?

When conducting an audit, assessing the provider’s geographic coverage is crucial. Timely and accurate data is key, but only if the provider offers data in the geographies you need.

First American Data & Analytics is the first property data provider to achieve 100% coverage of the nation’s Assessor parcels. Property details along with the largest collection of public record documents mean that Data & Analytics has the most complete ownership data and other insights about taxable properties. As such, we can help our customers tap into a wide range of data assets available to make informed data-driven business, compliance, and risk decisions.

We take a comprehensive and consultative approach in working with our customers throughout the relationship, beginning with the initial discussion because we don’t expect you to be an expert in public record data. Our goal is to understand your business objectives – and how those change over time – so that, together, we can determine the best data resources that meet your needs and help you build a roadmap to differentiate you from your competition.

3. Does the provider have a broad array of data sets?

In addition to confirming geographic coverage, ask your provider(s) to detail the various datasets they offer. You may be surprised to learn that they fall short of your expectations.

It is not uncommon for our customers to discover that we have critical datasets that they didn’t know were available and that could provide additional ROI. Over and above public record property and property ownership data, for example, our datasets include involuntary liens, parcel boundaries, HOA, and listing data among many others.

The ability to search and seamlessly link various datasets is important for efficient workflows. When data is sourced from multiple vendors, datasets may be in different formats and have different index keys, which could require many hours to match and standardize on the backend. Working with a single-source provider like First American Data & Analytics offers the benefit of receiving a broad range of data assets that are linked using a universal property identifier which makes them actionable right away. This saves valuable time and resources, allowing you to focus on growing your business and bottom line.

4. How does your provider assure data accuracy?

Consider asking your provider(s) about their data acquisition and QC processes. Are they merely scraping data from other sites, or are they collecting the data themselves, curating it, performing quality control, and providing it in your desired format and timetable? Can they ensure the same quality control measures are applied whether you want instant access to a single record or are pulling data on a full portfolio? Do they use machine learning (ML) and/or optical character recognition (OCR) or other technologies to improve data accuracy?

5. Is your current data company (or companies) qualified to be a single-source provider?

Conducting a data audit can yield valuable information, not the least of which is providing an avenue to explore using a single-source provider. Today efficiencies and cost savings matter more than ever, and moving to the right single-source provider can often achieve both. Working with a single provider to consolidate data resources lets you eliminate redundant and unnecessary contracts, work within a single Master Services Agreement for more efficient vendor management, and take advantage of bundling, all of which saves money.

In addition to providing the most robust, accurate and timely data in the industry, we also add value by actively engaging with you and your teams to investigate and create new possibilities and customized solutions that you may not have considered. For example, we work with some of the largest PropTech companies across the country to solve licensing, delivery and data challenges that help them achieve consumer-facing innovations. At First American Data & Analytics, we don’t think of ourselves as just a data provider to our customers, but rather an extension of their data team.

We can do the same for you. Send an email to datadriven@firstam.com and a member of our team will get in touch with you right away.

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