Any business, no matter the sector, will produce a lot of data; it’s one of the most valuable assets you have. There are many uses for the data you collect that will allow you to make positive changes to your processes. Any software you use in your day-to-day will produce useful information, and learning how to make the most of it is critical for business growth.
At SustainIt, we’ve got years of experience in making your data work harder. That’s why our experts have put together this guide to run you through the basics of data management, detailing the value and benefits that proper data handling can provide your business.
What is Data Management?
Data management is the process of gathering your data into one place and presenting it in a way that can be used. Imagine ore mined from the ground, it needs to be processed and refined before it’s valuable – data is the same!
You can gather data from many sources, such as your customer relationship management (CRM) software, credit card processing software, survey software, etc. Oftentimes, businesses will have reams of unused data that they have simply overlooked. Data management is taking these seemingly disparate pieces of information and organising them in a way that allows for comparison, with the end goal being a distilled, useful source of actionable data.
The Different Types of Data
There are four main types of data that organisations collect on a daily basis. All four types offer varying insights into your consumer base.
Personal data includes anything that you gather on individual customers. This can include data such as:
- Contact information (and permission to contact) – name, phone number, email, home address etc.
- Race & ethnicity
Personal data is used to build an idea of who your ideal customer/client is. By collating this information, you can learn who is looking to use your business and target your marketing efforts.
Engagement data measures the unique touchpoints that customers have with your organisation. These interactions can include, but aren’t limited to:
- Data from your website – visits, bounce rate, inbound traffic sources & length of stay.
- Enquiries – calls, emails, or any other method of enquiry.
- Social media comments, shares and links.
- Paid advertisement engagement – impressions, click-through rate, conversions etc.
This data is useful to measure how successful your marketing efforts are. You can see whether potential customers are opening your emails, or how long they’re staying on your website for. If specific areas are underperforming, you can adjust accordingly.
Behavioural data centres around consumer actions, focusing on each individual’s specific experience, and comparing that to others. Many organisations offer a variety of products/services. For every interaction, you’ll have invoices, receipts, free trials and sign-ups. Using this data provides valuable insights into what your most popular offerings are, allowing you a fantastic opportunity to tailor your services and predict future trends.
Gathered from reviews, surveys and other sources, attitudinal data provides your organisation with crucial feedback on exactly how consumers perceive your service. It’s important to proactively seek attitudinal data, as many happy customers are unlikely to think to leave a review, while disgruntled people are far more likely to voice their opinions.
Subjective and emotionally driven, organisations must be careful with attitudinal data. For it to be useful, you’ll need to gather opinions from wide-ranging sources (including your core clientele).
The Benefits of Data Management for Businesses
Developing a data management strategy is a marathon, not a sprint. Data should be reassessed continuously over months/years in order to monitor changes in your consumer base so you can proactively respond and adapt. By learning consumer habits and employing predictive analytics, businesses can offer more efficient access to the information that customers want. Efficient access encourages repeat business and results in happy consumers!
Using powerful analytics software, businesses can create engaging dashboards that visually display key information to stakeholders (or anyone else who needs to see it). Distilling data into easy-to-use, insightful datasets means that you can cut out the faff and focus on the important decisions.
Data can be used for far more than just marketing. Using sustainability data allows businesses to identify areas of inefficiency. It’s important for businesses of every size to become more sustainable, efficient and profitable. Utilising proper Environment, Health and Safety (EHS) systems can help businesses mitigate threats to their people and the planet by adjusting internal processes to comply with regulations and safety standards.
How is Data Processed?
Business intelligence tools take the manual labour out of data management. Tools use AI and Machine Learning to quickly and efficiently sort and filter through vast quantities of data, allowing you to see only what you need. AI can learn what you want to see and extract specific, useful data in moments. It can be difficult to know whether the data you’re looking at is genuinely useful. By minimising human error, you can always be sure that the data that you’re using is meaningful and relevant at all times.
Data Management Services with SustainIt
At SustainIt, we are driven to provide a service that is better for both your business and for our planet. Drawing on over 40 years’ combined industry experience, we’re proud of our pragmatic, efficient approach to data management issues. We work with businesses ranging from SMEs to FTSE 500s; no job is too big or small.
We understand that every situation is unique. That’s why we’ll create a tailored data management solution that matches your specific requirements. If you’d like to find out more, talk to a member of our specialist team by clicking here. We’re at the ready to help you reach your sustainability goals.