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Data Management Challenges Facing Small Business Owners

Data management and operation practices ensure that data is handled efficiently and that it can be accessed and used by everyone in the business who requires it. Every encounter and transaction made by customers generate a flood of critical data, thus having an efficient data management plan in place is crucial for all small businesses,…

Data management and operation practices ensure that data is handled efficiently and that it can be accessed and used by everyone in the business who requires it. Every encounter and transaction made by customers generate a flood of critical data, thus having an efficient data management plan in place is crucial for all small businesses, especially those operating in the e-commerce industry.

Data scientists now come in a variety of shapes and sizes, with a wide range of skills. A small business data scientist is primarily responsible for interpreting and analyzing data to convey critical discoveries about a company. The goal is to leverage data and results to address problems, uncover opportunities, and eventually save time and money for a company.

While most of us can’t afford to hire a full-fledged data scientist to handle these numbers, there are a few things you should be aware of and consider as you operate your business and strive to be as efficient as possible.

Small business entrepreneurs encounter many data management challenges.

Data Planning:

A data strategy is the overall and driving structure of data management. A data strategy is a road map that outlines how a corporation will acquire, handle, manage, and store data. While the scope and depth of a data strategy might vary, a clear plan that explains each component is essential.

A small fitness studio, for example, might collect data through a third-party site and then keep it all on its platform. The fitness studio can download reports and export content, such as email addresses and member lists, from the platform, but they do not have access to individuals’ financial information, such as credit card numbers, which provides a level of security to members and customers and keeps the fitness studio from having to deal with sensitive data.

Collecting data:

For the most part, a data strategy is plagued by two immediate questions that drive the roadmap.

What information do you wish to collect?

What method will you use to collect that information?

Data collection can take many forms, including print, digital, and in-person, so how data is shared and acquired is a major matter. The collection of sensitive and personally identifiable information should be done through a secure channel.

Another example: extremely sensitive credit card information these days, especially in light of the recent wave of data breaches that have put credit data and identities at risk.

As a general guideline, if you don’t have to touch this information, don’t. Use internet portals or a chip reader that can be used right in front of customers. Alternatively, employ a merchant service that will handle and encrypt data to ensure that these transactions are completely secure.

Storing data:

You must store data once you get it. While data storage is becoming more affordable, you don’t want to pick a service that lacks bank-level encryption, has a negative reputation or has none at all. Data should be kept on a reliable platform that is adaptable and scalable to meet your company’s present and future requirements.

For example, data storage services like Google Drive and Dropbox will provide you a set amount of free space before charging you after you reach a particular level. This is useful since you may not want to invest in a large quantity of storage if it isn’t required, but you also don’t want to have to move platforms entirely when your business grows.

The most important factor to consider is security. Make sure your data is safe wherever and however you save it.

Data Exchange:

Data sharing, also known as data integration, is the final step in putting data to work once you’ve solved the issue of data gathering and storage. Because so many of the finest data storage programs are cloud-based (which can be a good thing), these systems are becoming smart enough to communicate with one another and facilitate integration between programs.

For example, when using an application like Neat to record receipts and expense data, the difficulty used to be extracting that data and uploading it into another platform like QuickBooks Online or other accounting platforms.

Data in the form of expense reports may be simply exported from Neat’s premium service to QuickBooks Online in a few clicks, as technology improves and these platforms become smarter. This might be a game-changer in terms of operations and accounting, and it’s a huge time saver because it enables streamlined and automated workflows.

Importing contacts is another example. You want to be able to simply export these contacts into a CRM or email service provider (ESP) to manage your database if you use Neat or a similar scanning program to collect contact information. 

Utilization data:

Understanding when and how you will use your data is the final step in your data strategy. Understand the consequences of using your data and make sure you have the necessary rights.

When they get an email they didn’t sign up for or a bill they didn’t agree to, no one is overjoyed. Be extremely cautious about how you use the data you acquire, and make sure you don’t break any of your data use policies, which should be made public and accessible to anyone eager to provide data.

Data protection:

It’s critical to your company’s success, whether you’re talking about employee personnel files, customer transaction history, sales funnels and trends, capital financial accounting, intellectual property inventories, or any other type of data.

Several prominent firms have neglected to safeguard this valuable resource in recent years. Data breaches, whether caused by hackers or due to human error, are unquestionably costly. However, a breach’s impact on an organization’s brand and consumer confidence are truly immeasurable.

The Transparent Data Encryption solution from OpenEdge is designed to address your database security concerns. You can pinpoint the data you wish to secure on disc, in backups, or binary dump files with OpenEdge Transparent Data Encryption. TDE is also one of the tools that can help businesses stay in compliance with various regulatory laws.