Data is everywhere. Everything you do these days seems to require you to enter some details which are later used to target you and define you by companies.
No sooner have you searched for something online than an advert pops up on your computer promoting the goods you were after. Your email inbox is filled with promotional material linked to places you’ve visited, websites you’ve used and inquiries you’ve made.
We live in a data-driven age, where any company looking to get ahead has a firm understanding of the data it needs and how to manage it. The amount of data harvested is growing exponentially, which means in order to truly get the best from it there must be effective management protocols in place.
In order to truly manage data effectively, companies should look to take some of the following steps.
Understanding the purpose of data collection is important to companies. The amount of data out there is mind-boggling, and it is easy to get caught up in driving too deep into it. It’s widely reported that around 70% of all data collected goes unused for analytics.
In order to be effective, know exactly what purpose you are collecting data for. Starbucks does this effectively, using data to analyze the best locations for new stores. They often open two close together which is usually a route to failure for other businesses, but having used data to identify the locations, few fail.
Data takes up space and a company of any size needs to understand the limitations of their own storage and processing. Altium’s run-down of PCB data management highlights how the most important issue is having a system that can manage the vast amount of information a company now acquires. That may be a physical server onsite, or a cloud solution that allows for off-site storage and processing.
Simply having a huge spreadsheet is not the route to success here. A company can invest in a customer relationship management (CRM) tool, which means you can keep your data in one place, organized and easy to track. Looking to this type of solution is increasingly popular and helps deal with our next point also.
Getting the right management software is as critical to getting the most out of your data as the method by which you store it.
It might be you choose something too complex for your team to understand, or a system too large for your business’s needs. It might be your software is not secure enough for your business to feel comfortable relying on. Any of these issues will weaken the value of the data you harvest.
Take your time, assess the options and choose software that is right for you and your team.
There has been an increase in the number of breaches within the data collection field, not least from the Cambridge Analytica scandal, and some countries have created more stringent regulations on data collection, storage and processing.
You must ensure compliance with any regulation enforced by countries where your company operates, even if you are not based there. This is particularly noteworthy for American companies looking to operate and collect data from South Africa or the EU.
Trust is a huge part of data collection and the way you use the information you harvest can increase customer trust in you and your company. Be clear to the customer about what data you are collecting and how it is to be used. A study by University of Pennsylvania’s Annenberg School for Communication reveals that because customers are sharing their data with you doesn’t necessarily mean they’re happy to do so. Misusing that data could see your company lose consumer trust, rather than reap the original rewards you intended.
For additional reading on this subject, be sure to check out our article on ‘How to Improve Data Quality’.