Data is the lifeblood of business, and it is so critical to most businesses that loss of their data or computer systems will kill them in a matter of days. Failure to manage and maintain data impairs productivity and health of the business, where confusion impedes good decision-making and delays cost opportunities. Here are six essential data management tips for business.
Keep your data in one place, if possible. Fragmented data systems increase maintenance costs while having an even worse impact on employees’ productivity due to searching multiple systems to find the information they need. That is why combined data repositories and enterprise management systems are so popular.
You must keep your data up to date. Configuration managers and drawing control are usually good about doing this for product data, but you also need to maintain customer records, too. Data quality is also essential since errors in data entry can cause email messages to bounce and mailed letters to be lost. You can reduce this problem by using an online batch geocoding service like address4.com.
Big data is not a strategy, it is a problem. You can reduce this problem by not collecting data just because you can, otherwise it becomes a major problem to find the information you need in a timely manner. You may be legally required to hold onto some records for a decade, but others could be deleted after a year or two.
One way to save everyone’s sanity is to not alert everyone to everything. Implement a notification system tied to the data management system that notifies only the people critical to a workflow.
Too many businesses make the mistake of not establishing document control. Almost anyone can access data, even if it is sensitive. Too many people can alter the files, even by mistake. Establish access control to files, especially combinations of permissions and project access. This prevents anyone from simply accessing any file, but it avoids the incredible work of managing each user’s access to every object.
You need data managers or configuration managers in charge of each project, although many data management tools are so efficient that one person could manage drawings, test procedures, data sets and databases for several projects.
If you think that maintaining the latest security patches on your servers or databases are a hassle, wait until you have to recover your database from an older backup because ransomware locked it up or a virus compromised it. Your business also loses if others steal information and sell it to your competitors.
Consolidate your data into as few systems as possible with no overlap. Only collect the data you actually need and maintain your information. Don’t waste people’s time or network bandwidth sending out unneeded notifications. Set up access controls on your data, and keep them current. Invest time and effort into IT security.