Big data is a huge part of business today. Organizations can leverage data, collected directly and from third parties, to help them make better decisions and achieve their strategic objectives. However, actually making use of that information can be challenging. Below are six tips on effectively managing data.
1) Know Your Goals
Before undertaking any project, it is important to know your goals. This is as true for big data as it is for any other project. Data goals will help to guide your decisions about data. For example, it is difficult to collect the right data without clear goals.
The key challenges of big data are knowing what you need, knowing how to organize it and knowing how to interpret it. All three of these are impossible without having clear goals.
2) Know What To Capture
While there is some truth to the idea that it is better to have too much than too little, being overwhelmed by data is a very real problem. Knowing what to capture to inform the business decisions you need to make is important for leveraging data effectively.
When you know what you need to gather, actually getting the information is relatively easy. For example, you can use a data scraping tool to capture information from the internet quickly. Additionally, you can tap into third-party pools of data.
3) Organize Your Data
To avoid getting overwhelmed by data, keep it organized. Again, this is informed by your goals for your data. A well-organized data set is easier to interpret and use. Ultimately, your data should help your whole organization run better. If people can’t understand what they are looking at, they won’t use it.
Additionally, if you are rigorous about organization, you can be a little less rigorous about sticking only to essential data. That allows you to build a bigger data set that can inform future decisions you aren’t aware of yet. Organization is the key to using big data.
4) Secure Your Data
Your data is a valuable asset. It offers you a competitive advantage because you have insight that others may not. This is especially true if you have a well-organized and planned out data set. Organization can turn an essentially worthless load of raw data into valuable insight.
Protect your data against intrusions both physical and digital. Additionally, protect against threats to your servers such as power surges, natural disasters, and humidity. Cloud backups are a great way to help secure your data against threats.
5) Give Access Internally
Once you have secure and organized data, you can start using it for your business. Of course, it is important for your team to be able to access it. Make sure that people have the visibility they need to leverage information to make decisions. If your data is well-organized, you can offer a lot of access to your team.
Make sure you develop a feedback loop so that your team members can let you know what other data they need. They can also let you know what isn’t well-organized.
6) Adapt Your Data
Finally, remember to adapt to a changing environment. As your business grows and the market changes, you will need different data to drive your decisions. A flexible approach to data will let you maintain your competitive advantage.
Flexibility should be a priority as you design your data capturing and organization practices and tools. As mentioned above, you should also seek to develop a feedback loop so your team can inform your practices. As with other parts of running a successful business, adapting your data management to keep up with the times is essential to lasting success.
These tips will help you master big data. When you can prioritize, collect, organize, secure, share and adapt your data, you will have what you need to make strong business decisions. However, if you fail to attend to these considerations, you will struggle to turn your data into value.
More on this topic: The 4 Data Quality Management Tips Your Business Needs to Implement ASAP