Business data provides valuable insights into how a business is performing, what its customers want, and how it can improve its operations.
- Business data helps you make better business decisions based on facts and figures, not guesswork.
- It allows you to identify trends in consumer behaviour and market conditions, which are essential for staying ahead of the competition.
- It helps you to track performance and identify areas where improvements can be made.
- It enables you to understand customer needs, preferences, and behaviour.
- It helps you to identify inefficiencies, reduce waste, and optimise processes, leading to improved profitability.
Here are our team’s best tips for ensuring your data is accurate, secure, accessible, and used in the right way to make informed decisions and gain a competitive advantage.
1. Define your data management policies
Developing clear policies and procedures for collecting, storing, and using data is the foundation of effective data management.
Establishing a formal data governance framework can help ensure that data is managed consistently and effectively. Here are some steps to help you define data management policies:
- Identify your organisation's data needs: What types of data will your business collect, process, and store; how important is it, and who needs access?
- Data collection and storage: Establish guidelines for how data should be collected and stored, including what types of data should be collected.
- Define data access policies: Who should have access to different types of data, how should access be granted and revoked, and how should data be shared internally and externally?
- Establish data security policies: This includes data encryption, password policies, access controls, and network security protocols.
- Data retention policy: How long should data be retained, and how should data be disposed of when it is no longer needed?
- Data governance planning: How will data management policies be enforced and will how data-related issues be addressed?
Data management policies should be reviewed and updated regularly to ensure they remain relevant and effective in addressing the data needs and data-related risks of your business.
2. Ensure your data is well organised
Organising data in a structured manner helps facilitate easier retrieval and analysis. Using data management tools and technologies such as data warehouses, data lakes, and data integration platforms can help organise and manage large volumes of data efficiently.
3. Maintain the quality of your business data
Ensuring data is accurate, complete, and consistent is essential for effective decision-making. Establishing data quality standards and using data validation and cleansing tools can help maintain data integrity. These can be an effective way to automatically identify and fix business data errors. Regularly monitoring and reviewing data quality is important to ensure that data is fit for purpose.
4. Keep your business data secure
Implementing appropriate security measures to protect data from unauthorised access, theft, or corruption is essential to protect sensitive information, prevent data breaches, and maintain the trust of customers and partners. Ways to keep business data secure include:
- Use of strong passwords
- Use of two-factor authentication
- Encryption of sensitive data
- Keeping access to data limited to employees who need it
- Keeping all software up to date
- Backing up data regularly
Regularly monitoring and testing security controls can help ensure that data is adequately protected. It's important to remember that data security is an ongoing process and requires regular review and updates to stay ahead of potential security threats.
5. Use analytics tools to gain insights
Using analytics tools to gain insights from data, identify trends, and make data-driven decisions is another critical aspect of effective data management. This may include descriptive analytics (e.g., reporting and data visualisation), predictive analytics (e.g., forecasting and modelling), or prescriptive analytics (e.g., optimisation and simulation).
6. Provide training for staff in business data management
Providing training to employees on data management policies and procedures, data privacy, and security practices is important to ensure that they understand their roles and responsibilities in managing data effectively. This can help reduce the risk of human error and improve compliance with data protection regulations.
7. Make continuous improvements to data management
Continuous monitoring and improvement of data management processes, policies, and technologies are essential to ensure that they remain effective and efficient. This may involve:
- regularly reviewing data quality
- reviewing security controls
- reviewing analytics tools
- incorporating feedback from stakeholders.
8. Use Xero to manage your business data more effectively
Xero is a cloud-based accounting software that is very useful for managing business data. Here are some of the ways in which Xero can help businesses manage their data effectively:
- Businesses can store all their financial data in one place, making it easier to access and manage. This includes invoices, receipts, and bank statements.
- It provides real-time visibility into financial performance
- It enables automatic data entry, reducing the need for manual data input and reducing the risk of errors.
- Multiple users can access and collaborate on the same data
- It integrates with other software systems, such as customer relationship management (CRM) and inventory management, to provide a more comprehensive view of operations.
- Xero uses advanced security measures to protect sensitive financial data, including data encryption and two-factor authentication.
By using Xero to manage financial and business data, businesses can save time, reduce errors, and make informed decisions based on accurate and up-to-date information.
The Genus team at Shorts is proud to be a Xero Platinum Partner and is one of the top 2% of Xero partners in the UK for clients and certified advisors.
How Genus can help you with business data management
If you feel you would benefit from assistance with business data management, our team can work alongside your leadership team to identify and implement improvements for how you manage data.
We will work closely with you from the early planning stages, right on through to delivery and training, providing continuous support throughout and beyond the project.
If you would like to find out more, we welcome you to get in touch.