If you’re in the field of marketing, sales, IT or another business area, you have to have access to reliable, accurate data to inform your decisions. That’s where good data management comes into play -and that’s the reason it’s one of the most important tech trends to be watching in 2018.

Data management is the area that encompasses all disciplines relating to treating data as a valuable asset and ensuring its accuracy and reliability. That covers everything from data structure to the deployment of analytics and data systems, to managing the lifecycle of storage of your company’s information.

A solid data management plan includes six primary attributes or the six core attributes:

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

Completeness — The data must include all the mandatory values like sending an email to a customer with only their last name.

Consistency — the data must remain consistent throughout every data set and remain the same even when it is changed or modified.

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

A plan for managing data is only effective only if all departments and units are on the same page. This is especially crucial because faulty data can be costly for your organization. For example, an IBM study found that poor data management costs the U.S economy $3.1 trillion a year in lost productivity and how to unhost someone on twitch expenses associated with maintaining data.