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Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Are you using the ideal company to manage tour data?

By Brian Flax

Data management and integration is an important aspect of any business that collects information about its customers or clients. Whether you use this information for product development, market development, operational efficiency, or for customer experience and rewards programs, you need a company or program to manage and protect this data.

Let's take a look at what businesses can do to best manage their big data.


Keep your data current

USB flash drives help store data
USB flash drives hold Gigabytes of data
One of the most important aspects of data management is keeping your information up to date. This is especially true if most of your data is related to your customers. Whether you keep records of the people you do business with or track a customer loyalty or rewards program, ensure that you keep this information as updated as possible.
 
If you collect phone numbers, emails, and addresses from your clients, ensure you ask for updated information whenever you conduct business. As you add new customers, add them to your database as soon as you can. This will reduce errors and get you in the habit of keeping up-to-date records.

Keep your data relevant


In addition to keeping your data relevant to your business, customers, and processes, your database should be adaptable and flexible. If you're collecting information that your business will never use, it may be time to reevaluate your collection procedures and slim down the amount of data you manage.

 

Ensure the data you collect is relevant to your business and can be used to benefit both you and your customers. If you find you're missing information, ensure your database is flexible enough to add the information easily.
 

If you haven't already, develop a data life cycle process. Figure out what data is critical to your business and what's not. Ensure that your business's critical data is given priority and that you have a goal established.

Ensure it's compatible

Motherboard components determine system compatability
Hardware & software function together

If you use your database for data integration with other business applications or third-party apps, ensure that the program or company you use is compatible with the software you use now and plan on using in the future. In addition, you'll want to ensure that it's scalable and can handle the big data you plan to collect as your business grows.

 

Keep the data protected


If you're collecting confidential customer information, or big data that's private to your business, ensure that the program or company you use has security procedures in place to protect your data. Both logical and physical access restriction controls should be utilized to prevent unauthorized individuals from seeing private or sensitive data.

Be transparent


Ensure your customers understand why the data is being collected and how it will benefit them, especially if you use the information to track purchases or a loyalty program. You can accomplish this by drafting a privacy policy for your customers to view or sign. If you plan to distribute the data to other companies, give the customer a way to opt out.

Be willing to change


If you're not getting the most out of your data management and integration company, don't be afraid to start looking around for solutions that'll work better for your business. The data you collect could mean the difference between success and failure, so ensure the company you choose is working for you.

 

No matter what kind of big data you collect or how you manage it, keep it up to date, relevant to your business, and protected. If you're unhappy with your data management or integration company, find one that works better for your business. Be transparent with your customers and let them know how you plan to use the data, and design a data lifecycle process if you haven't done so already.



About the author: Brian Flax is a freelance writer based out of the Washington, D.C., area. He holds a master's in education technology and a bachelor's in entertainment business from Full Sail University. Brian is experienced in a variety of topics including business management, technology, and Internet applications.

Image licenses: 1. SmartPhotoStock; 2. SmartPhotoStock