Data and analytics are increasingly THE biggest strategic differentiators for successful, high growth organizations. Whether you’re a local small business or a booming enterprise, you need to consider data as one of your most valuable assets.

But what is data worth if it’s not available when you need it, or worse–if it’s outdated, missing, or inaccurate?

There’s no doubt that both an excess and a shortage of data can be damaging, which is why it’s so important to implement a proper data management strategy.  This starts by determining what kind of data is most valuable to the organization to collect and analyze. Consideration also needs to be given to how data will be stored and processed in accordance with applicable regulations, and how the data will be protected from loss, cyber crime attacks or data leaks.

It may sound a little complicated at first, but we’re here to help you build a clear plan. If you follow our guide and implement these 5 tips in your data management strategy, you’ll start to make better more informed business decisions and gain deeper customer insights than you ever thought possible. So what is the best way to effectively manage data in your company?

1. Understand the potential of the data you have

The amount of data that is generated and stored on a global scale is almost unimaginable (according to DOMO we produce over 2.5 quintillion bytes of data every single day!), and it’s not slowing down. Your business is sitting on a mountain of data – about your customers’ preferences, behavior, as well as your own operational effectiveness; chances are that you may not be analyzing it to its full potential. Consider what kind of data you collect in your business and how you can use it to better anticipate customer needs, identify opportunities to up-sell or cross-sell products, and improve the overall efficiency of your business.

2. Build a data management team

Equally important as the technology you use to handle your data, is the quality of your data management staff. Whether you have a dedicated team for this or not, the important thing to know is that you need trained and experienced staff to manage data collection (in accordance with privacy practices), data quality, data protection, data analysis, and implementation. Building a dynamic data management team is an essential part of any business. They must be properly trained and ideally hold corresponding certifications to ensure that your analytics projects deliver both insightful and actionable results, and that your data is properly protected throughout its lifecycle.

3. Be sure to comply with global data privacy regulations

In the era of globalization, countries all around the world have an undeniable influence on our economy and business operations. The same applies to the way companies function and, above all, how they process personal data. Even if you don’t target or sell to European entities, make sure your company is compliant with Europe’s Global Data Privacy Regulations (GDPR) introduced in 2018 to avoid significant potential fines. If you run an international business, remember to research data privacy and data protection regulations in all countries in which you operate.

4. Make sure your data is secure

In today’s world full of hackers, viruses, malware and other internal and external threats, companies must be able to effectively secure their data. However, adding to this challenge is the fact that confidential information is increasingly being copied to (or created on) employee hard drives, mobile phones or removable USB drives.  And because these devices are mobile, they are prone to loss, damage or theft without proper encryption, password protection, and data backups.  Company servers also need to be “hardened”, which means their software must be properly patched to ensure no security vulnerabilities exist and only authorized employees have access to data.  These data protections will help save your business from major embarrassment and avoid crippling legal and financial problems.

5. Turn your data into profit

With the access to relevant data and the use of modern analytics techniques, you can identify practical ways run your company better.  Whether you want to sell more, reduce risk, improve customer service, or maximize resource utilization, you can create and track Key Performance Indicators (KPIs), to tangibly see how effective your actions are.

KPIs can be created for individual areas or departments in the company, as well as for specific projects and even marketing campaigns. KPIs give you an objective way to review the performance of vendors and external partners, as well as provide a basis for rewarding employees within the company. Think of KPIs as road signs on your path to success. Their constant monitoring helps you make the right decisions, focus on investments that bring results and direct your business in the right direction.

Companies are collecting more and more data, but by itself raw data does not provide much business value. In today’s digital age, your company’s ability to turn data into information – and insights – is what will set your business apart from the rest. Doing this requires an effective data management strategy, a knowledgeable team, proper safeguards, and meaningful metrics to ensure your business will thrive for years to come.

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