No matter how much you have of it, data is not information. It’s only useful information for your business if it’s collected, stored and interpreted correctly. Make sure it’s protected: against accidental deletion or loss, but also against being accessed or used by people outside the organisation.
Data should exist in one place only – and be easily accessible by the right users. Technology can help you bring together all the data from across your business, from simple data capture forms for recurring information, to implementing a CRM system, finance systems or industry-specific business applications.
A frequent issue for growing businesses is duplication of effort, and this starts with data. Not only does duplication mean two separate people have spent time entering the same information, but you run the risk of confusion and inaccuracies creeping into the system. A clear, logical and well understood structure for your data doesn’t have to be complex or expensive. In our experience, a simple numbering mechanism and spreadsheet document register can be just as powerful as an expensive document management system, as long as it’s properly aligned to business processes.
Your people need access to information to do their jobs – but that might be anywhere, at any time, and via any kind of device. The rise of Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) means that people increasingly expect to be able to access business information through their own devices and systems – and making it easy to access and interpret data will help them do their jobs more effectively.
Protecting your data is vital, and also a compliance issue for many businesses. As businesses grow, the need for security also expands, and more and more potential weak points appear in your security systems. You need a scalable, logical approach to data security that takes into account compliance, access requirements, and risk.
Getting the right systems for your business is a collaborative process: often the first iteration won’t be quite right, but working in close partnership with your vendor will enable you to refine it until it suits your business perfectly.
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