Information if you do, Data if you don’t
Updated: Jul 12, 2021
Your information is only as good as your data, sounds like common sense, right? Then why is it for so many, their data is always treated as a second thought, when they rely on the information so much? Is it the time poor world we live in, or just laziness? I’m here to tell you, what ever it is, your information doesn’t have to suffer through poor data management.
First, what is the difference between information and data, aren’t they the same thing? For the context of this article, data is represented as raw pieces of unprocessed facts, individual items or attributes that when used together or in a context to building wholistic descriptions, become information, it is this information that can then be used within Reports, Analytical activities or dashboards, to tell a story about a subject. Gaps in the data doesn’t allow for total information.
So, with that context in mind, how can we better gather data continuously to keep our information up to date and relative when we need it. There is a combination of manual and electronic processing that must be done. These processes must become a part of your everyday work life, a routine that you need to program yourself to perform or manage.
Program yourself to pull out data.
Every day we process heaps of data whether on the phone with a candidate or supplier, meeting with a client, reading emails, browsing the web or on printed text. A lot of this data is simply locked into your mind as a singular piece of fact which from time to time you might use to fill in an unwritten gap that only you will understand. The trick here is to place it somewhere to be used to give more relevance to another singular piece of information in the future that you or someone else has acquired, even as irrelevant as it may seem at that moment.
In business and our work day, we are there for a purpose, mostly to assist with customers, clients, candidates, suppliers and to help our company grow and expand, therefore the data you have would more than likely have someplace to go other than your head, such as a spreadsheet, database system or other application. Therefore, part of your job description/activities is to write it down somewhere it can be collated and reused, but why is it not? Because it is not part of your routine, therefore everybody needs to make it fit it into their routine. What may seem a little more work now, will greatly reduce the work in the future.
Automate from content sources
It is important to plan your working day with an understanding that a percentage of that day will be to update electronic records with data, to build your information repository. However, these activities should be viewed as a compliment to your systems and the electronic processes which can produce the core of the information set. Such as automating the generation of data into a system from an outside content source.
As mentioned previously, there is a lot of interaction between people in each day and much of this interaction is done via electronic means, such as emails, internet, SMS, and other mobile applications. The technology to automate a workflow to create or update data within your system has been available for decades, yet many organisations do not utilise it to its full potential with some organisations losing a lot within stand alone or individuals’ computers.
Selecting a database system, such as a Customer Relationship Management (CRM) solution, which allows you the functionality to create an informational record based on an incoming form of communication such as email, file upload or internet forms for example will make the activity of keeping it updated so much easier.
Integrate with other applications
Systems and electronic processes have come a long way, with web services, application programming interface (API) and other programmatic technologies being around since computers started talking to each other. Just about every application or database on the market today has the ability to connect to another solution, or be connect to by another solution, usually for the primary purpose of sharing data from one to the other.
However, so much data is still duplicated, re-entered, or reduced from one system to the other because these integration functions have not been specified or built, when it saves on time on processing and data entry when integration is built. The main benefit, and the purpose of this article, is to build enough data on a topic area to be able to understand the full picture of the subject, one of the most powerful analytics you can expose is that when multiple systems share data to produce the end to end of the information you are after.
Integrating systems is the best way to reduce all the redundant or duplicate activities to get the information state, making it so much easier for analytical Business Intelligence (BI) tools to extrapolate what you need.
All processes are needed
The three sections above all work hand in hand and must be used in today’s busy environments where time still is not getting any longer. Using a combination of Integration, Automation and Manual update of data daily will ensure the information you need is on hand ‘when’ you need.
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