Your business is stocked full of data. You have data about staff, customers, products, prices and company finances to name just a few subject areas of the data that you track. Importantly, this data can be churned into information which can be leveraged for competitive gain.
There are countless ways that the data can be harvested to help your business. You can use it to develop and sell new products, boost revenues and manage costs. However, all of this data must be deliberately managed in order for your business to enjoy these benefits. Indeed, it must be managed just like you mange every other asset in your company.
Here are some tips to consider as you begin to transition towards managing your data as a business asset:
1. New processes and techniques for managing data must be developed and put into place as data begins to be recognized as an asset that must be managed aggressively.
2. Information management responsibilities must be factored into the current business management structure so that it becomes somebody's job to ensure that data is properly collected, safeguarded, managed and synthesized into information that can be used competitively.
3. Information leverage should become an important aspect of strategic planning, as well. Business plans will need to reflect a renewed emphasis on sharing information across the business and used in collaborative ways to get things done.
4. Policies and standards must be developed to balance conflicting needs and set guidelines for data use and organization, promoting sharing across the business.
5. Staff members must be formally trained in data management and in the use of automated management tools and methods to enable them to manage and produce the information produced as a by-product of the work being performed within the business.
To close, your company's data is uniquely yours. In fact, it can be used to separate your business from that of your competitors. If you adopt the mindset that data is an asset that must be properly managed, you will begin to do the work needed to put the management systems in place that attend to the care and nurturing of your data assets--and that can be the difference between a business that flashes in the pan and one that flourishes and grows.