Small business owners used to wear various hats to run their brainchild smoothly and taste success. Lately, with the advent of data science, they need to wear an additional hat, too, like that of a data scientist. Data scientists are of various types now, having varied skills. Fundamentally, small business data management specialists need to analyze huge volumes of data and interpret the key findings. The goal here is to use the findings to address the business challenges, understand the market, tap new opportunities, and help the business grow by saving time and resources.
While many of the bigger corporates will enjoy the luxury of hiring an expert data scientist to handle this role, a few important things all should know about database management to ensure optimum ROI. Further in this article, we will discuss a few major challenges in enterprise database management in the era of big data for business.
Data management challenges for modern business
- Need for a proper data strategy
Data strategy is the overarching structure of data management for any business. A good data strategy will act as the roadmap to the methods of how the company collects the data, how to store it, and how to make use of the data for business benefits. The data strategy should also factor in the data security threats and foolproof measures to ensure the same. Data strategy may vary based on the nature of the business. A real-time example can be considered as below.
A fitness studio may be collecting their customer data through different third-party sites or apps and may store it within their platform. With data being stored in a structured manner, they will be able to download the needed reports, export content from time to time, and store vital information such as email IDs, phone numbers, member lists, etc. However, the ability to access the members’ financial information or credit card details demands an additional layer of security to safeguard sensitive data.
Implementing a foolproof data strategy is essential here, which should outline who all have access to sensitive data, which computers are used to view or download such reports, and the possibility of accessing the data through mobile devices. There should also be restrictions to permissions for the users who log into the third-party websites and applications to access the backend data. Have restrictions on permissions for anyone who can log into our third-party site from the backend. Even though it may seem overkill for a small business organization, we must have a strategy to ensure proper data management.
- Process of data collection
The two immediate and most important questions regarding data strategy are:
- What type of data do you collect?
- How do you collect the data?
In regular business operations, data is collected in a wide range of formats as digital, print, in-person, POS data, and so on. This means the data is collected and shared freely, and there should be a secured method for doing the same.
- Storage of data
The next important consideration is data storage. To ensure minimum downtime and optimum protection, you can have servers with remote server management services like RemoteDBA.com for database hosting. Data storage and database management are comparatively cheaper nowadays, but you should not end up using a compromised service that does not have encryption. Always ensure the reputation of the provider before choosing a third-party service for database storage.
Another consideration while looking for data storage is to ensure that it is expandable and scalable as the volume of data is going to increase over time. Not only the current needs but consider the future requirements of the business too while considering data storage. For example, the data storage facilities like Google Drive and Dropbox extra may not allow you unlimited space. Next, you have to avail of paid premium services, for which you should consider the most effective and reliable platforms. The consider in any data storage service is security. Ensure that wherever you store the data, it is fully safe.
- Sharing of data
Once you solve the data collection and storage challenges, the next big thing is to share the data, which is also known as data integration. As many data storage platforms are available, including cloud-based solutions, leaving the data off to the hardware devices can be ideal. These systems are now becoming smarter enough to communicate with each other and ensure seamless integration.
For a real-time example, with the use of a program like Neat, you can store the business expense data with receipts and all. Here the challenge is to extract the data and import it to another useful platform like QuickBooks for accounting or other such integrable applications. As the technology continues to evolve seamlessly, these platforms are also getting smarter over time. The data available in a particular form can be exported to the premium services of the platforms like neat to be integrated with packages like QuickBooks in a few clicks. From the accounting and business management point of view, this will be a gamer changer by saving a lot of time and effort with automated workflow.
- Data usage
Another big consideration in a perfect data strategy is understanding when and how you use the data. For this, you have to fully understand the implications of using data and make sure that you have proper permissions in place for data usage. A customer may not be so excited to get a promotional mail that they are not signed up for or any faulty charges they do not agree to. So, you have to be very careful while using the data you collect for various purposes and take extra care not to violate any data usage policies while using the data for various functional purposes.
All these objectives can be achieved with the support of a good database service provider who can devise and run a comprehensive data strategy in terms of collection, storage, and utilization of the data in a secured manner.