You need clean, reliable data to make the right decisions regardless of whether you’re in marketing, sales IT, sales, or any other business function. This is where good data management comes into play -and it’s the reason it’s a top technology trend to watch in 2018.

Data management encompasses all disciplines that deal with treating your data as an important asset and guaranteeing its accuracy, reliability and accessibility. That includes everything from data architecture, to deploying analytics and data systems, to managing the lifecycle of storage of your company’s data.

A solid data management strategy includes six fundamental attributes or the six core attributes:

Accuracy — the data should be based on actual, real-world objects and events, and should be verified by using trusted sources.

Completeness — The information must contain all mandatory values such as sending an email to a client with only their last name.

Consistency – the data must be uniform across all data sets and remain that way when updated or organized.

Accessibility – The data can be easily retrieved by people who require them, without any compromise to the compliance standards.

A data management plan will only be effective if supported by all departments and business areas. This is especially important since the consequences of inaccurate data can be expensive for your company. IBM estimated that poor handling of data costs the U.S. economy $3.1 trillion annually in lost productivity, and the costs associated with maintaining data.