Choosing a Data Management System for Your Business

Information is one of the most important assets of any organization. An efficient and secure data management system that enables you to capture, store and retrieve this information is critical to ensure the benefits of this asset are fully maximized.

Data comes in many forms and is increasingly stored online. The interaction between various online systems and with hard copy data, leads to increasing complexity as the amount of data generated by an organization grows literally by the hour. Effective data management systems are therefore no longer a viable option. They are a crucial means of cutting through this complexity and ensuring the data works for you and your business rather than the other way round.

The benefits

A good data management system will:

  • Provide quick and easy access to relevant information, helping to drive efficiency across your organization
  • Protect your data so that only those authorized to access the information are able to do so
  • Ensure your business is best equipped to continue functioning through any kind of disruption, ranging from employee absence to catastrophic events

All of these are essential for maintaining a competitive advantage within any industry.

The functions

The specific functions of a data management system depend on the requirements of you and your business. On a very basic level such a system typically includes processes and procedures, supported by the relevant technology that pertains to capturing, storing, securing and retrieving information. This is something many of us depend on almost continually and often take for granted; only being noticed when access becomes disrupted in any way.

The following are examples of basic data management system functions.

Converting paper documents into an electronic format so they can be archived in a way that allows them to be quickly found through the simplest of searchesProviding access to your data at any time, wherever you are in the world and across a variety of platformsKeeping your data safe and secure by providing stringent rules and processes that ensure people only have access to the data appropriate to themHaving the most suitable document management software is essential to ensure these functions are carried out efficiently and economically.

The implementation

Here are five simple steps to follow that cover key considerations when implementing a data management system.

  1. Understand your requirements – every business is unique and there is no one size fits all solution to data management. It is important to make sure you fully understand your data management requirements before implementing such a system. Think about the data you use, how you use it and who uses it. Also, do not only consider your current requirements; think about possible growth over the coming years.
  2. Speak to the experts – we all deal with copious amounts of data every day, through email accounts and social media for example. It can therefore be tempting to assume that designing and implementing a data management system is something we can manage ourselves. However, while simplicity is a key element of any good data management system the installation and implementation process can require specialist expertise to ensure that the end result is truly fit for purpose and does not cause even bigger problems further down the line.  Finding an expert in your chosen database (such as specialising in Apache Cassandra or MySQL) will ease any potential migration issues and help avoid any security risks.
  3. Choose the right system – once the initial analysis is complete the next step is to select the system or systems necessary to address the relevant issues. Many companies now rely on an enormous amount of documentation in their routine daily activities, so document management software will very likely be a critical element in any new system.
  4. Make sure you engage the right people – a data management system relies as much on the behavior and actions of the people involved as it does on the processes, procedures and supporting technology. Everyone who will be using this system in whatever capacity should receive appropriate training in order to ensure they are totally familiar with the processes and technology and fully understand their responsibilities.
  5. Revisit and maintain – as your business and the world in general evolves your data management requirements will inevitably have to evolve in order for you to maintain relevance and competitiveness within your industry. A data management system that meets your requirements can become out of date in quite a short period of time. It is therefore essential to maintain the system to ensure it is being used correctly, that upgrades are installed as soon as they become available and that the system continues to meet your needs.

Choosing a data management system that responds directly to the specific requirements and challenges of your business will ensure continued high levels of security, efficiency and competitiveness.

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