With each passing minute, hour, and day, the amount of data in the world is growing exponentially. Chances are, your business is playing a role in this – tracking and recording important information throughout numerous areas of your company. But are you getting the most from this data?
Is Your Data Useless?
Perhaps you’ve seen the numbers before: 90 percent of the data in the world today has been created within the last two years. Collectively, we’re producing 2.5 quintillion bytes per day – a figure that will continue to increase over time.
Your company plays just a fractional role in these statistics, but it’s important that you find a way to utilize the data you’re collecting – otherwise, it becomes worthless. That’s right – data without application is fruitless. In fact, it weighs your business down and prevents you from accomplishing key goals and objectives.
Are you maximizing the value of your data, or is it simply collecting dust? If you’re honest with yourself, the latter may be true. And if the latter is true, you’re in trouble.
How to Put Your Data to Use
It’s not enough to collect data. If you’re serious about giving your business the best chance to succeed in a dynamic marketplace, you must develop a strategy that helps you put it to use in meaningful ways. Here’s how you can start:
1. Ensure It’s Clean
This may seem like an obvious tip, but many companies still have issues with the quality of data they’re sourcing.
You can’t do much with your data if it isn’t clean and accurate. It’s like building a skyscraper with a compromised foundation. You might get the skyscraper built, but it’ll eventually have some serious problems.
There are a variety of ways to clean and organize data, but make sure you aren’t skipping the basics. At the very least, you need some algorithms and formulas in place to automate the analysis process. It’s also smart to do some manual checks from time to time to be sure everything is where it should be.
2. Have a Standardization Process in Place
With so many different data tools and platforms available to businesses, it’s easy to do too much. Not only does this create unnecessary distractions, but it can also lead to issues with interpretation.
“Analyzing multiple reports created in different ways can feel like comparing apples and oranges,” IT expert Joe Stangarone writes. “Just imagine if you’re a business leader, and must decipher different reports created in different formats. It can slow down your analytics and even lead to misinterpreted data.”
In order to get the most out of your data, be sure you have some sort of standardization process in place. This will ensure consistency and accuracy, both of which are integral when you’re trying to increase the value of your company’s data.
3. Use a Data Reporting Tool
Collecting, organizing, and understanding data is one thing. You also need to be capable of reporting the data to key decision makers and organizational stakeholders.
The best thing you can do is use a data reporting tool that lets you track and report KPIs. There are dozens of them available, so look around for one that you’re comfortable with. A good online dashboard tool will help you explore, monitor, and report data, share insights, create and access individual dashboards, and develop custom, real-time reports that are both cost-effective and accurate.
4. Protect It
Security is one of the frequently ignored pieces of data management. Unfortunately, a failure to pay attention on this front can cost you dearly.
In addition to having big-picture data security initiatives in place, make sure you’re educating and informing your employees on how to stay safe. Most data breaches are the result of human error. By teaching them about things like phishing schemes, password integrity, and network attacks, you can do a better job of protecting your data.
Don’t Miss the Opportunity
By collecting data, you’re doing the right thing. But if you’re simply storing it away for some unknown use, you’re missing out on a chance to push your organization to the next level. Whether it’s research and development, sales, marketing, or supply chain optimization, data can transform your approach to business. Make sure you put it to use sooner rather than later!