Summer’s coming to an end and back-to-school students aren’t the only ones who need to get organized. It’s time for you to take a page from their playbook and prep for a fresh start. You can take inventory or re-evaluate your marketing strategy, but by far the most important thing you should be doing is managing your data.

The Life Cycle of Data

Thanks to the technological revolution that wages stronger every single day, we have more diverse and more useful data pouring in than ever before. From web forms to social media to smart devices like watches and speakers, there’s no shortage of mediums through which we get our data.

Unsurprisingly, your data—on customers and clients, sales and purchases, marketing campaigns and email strategies—piles up quickly. Internal data and figures can easily be entangled with external data on clients and customers, creating a deep, yet relatively useless, web. What good is your data if you can’t make sense of it?

Data management is the process of organizing data and controlling it as it moves through its “life cycle.” Take a look at the data you have now. Can you place it in any phase of a data life cycle? Creating? Processing? Analyzing? Can you explicitly say what’s being done with it? Explain why you’re collecting it? Describe what you’re learning from it?

If you can’t, then it’s probably time to get a firmer grip on managing it.

Data Management Tools

Data management isn’t something you have to do on your own. There are tons of tools available for better data management. Whether you want a program that will show you simple charts, or something a little more insightful, you should have no problem finding a tool that’s perfect for your organization and its data.

PCMag put together a handy list of 2017’s top “business intelligence” tools. They range from free products to ones that may cost you a few thousand. It’s important to consider cost, features, and ease-of-use when making a decision.

Some of the tools PCMag highlights include:

  • Zoho Reports – Easy to use and inexpensive, Zoho Reports has been the go-to data management tool for a lot of our clients. It seamlessly integrates with a variety of third-party software and databases. You can also integrate it with other Zoho apps.
  • Power BI – The free version of this tool, made by Microsoft, is slightly more limited than an inexpensive professional version.
  • Tableau – Tableau has a small cost, but a steep learning curve for those who may be unfamiliar with business intelligence tools.

4 Benefits of Better Organization

Regardless of which tool you decide to go with, you’ll quickly discover that getting a hold of your data and controlling it as it grows will bring countless benefits to your business, including:

  • Better Governance and Decision Making – When you have data organized in a way that makes sense to your organization, you’ll gain insights you never before thought possible, insights that guide your decision making. You’ll know what clients want, where your finances stand, etc.
  • Improved Data Accuracy – When you get a new piece of software, data is more likely to be accurate because you’re constantly checking to make sure the software you purchased is doing its job. However, chances are you haven’t really looked back at that software as closely since, which has caused your data to “drift.” There’s nothing more damaging to a company on the brink of major decision making than faulty data.
  • Enhanced Security – When you have a firm grasp on your data—the types of data you have, where it is, who has access to it—you can also get a firm grasp on where its security is lacking. Organizing your data will give you the opportunity to see what security measures are in place and ask whether only certain people in your organization should have the ability to see, or even alter, data.
  • Increased Sales – Organized data will give you invaluable insights into your customers. What makes them purchase something? What makes them respond to a marketing email? You’ll have the information you need to see pricing strategies and make decisions on what to charge for goods and services so that they’ll sell.

Never Fall Behind

There’s no escaping data collection and all of the changes technology will undoubtedly bring to it. Embracing these changes and finding ways to manage your data will ensure that your business or organization never falls far behind.

All month, we’ll be giving you insights into how data management can help your business or organization. We’ll go over more tips and more tools and we’ll show you the benefits of big data, not only for your business, but for your customers as well.

As always, if you need a partner to help you manage your data and find the perfect tools for your business, don’t hesitate to contact us by using the form below.