Understanding the many ways data can help your business grow is not the same as knowing how to gather and store data correctly. Lots of decision makers often leave the latter to other people. Instead of managing data themselves, they outsource to master data management experts or hire people whose sole responsibility is collecting and tracking data.

Data is not as complicated as it seems, though. If you’re a business owner, there’s no reason for you not to be more involved in the data and analytics aspect of your company.

To better understand how data works, keep reading to discover the top 9 master data management best practices.

 

1. Gather All the Data You Can

The more data you have, the better. Chances are, what you’re doing to collect data right now isn’t enough. There are always new ways to get valuable information about your consumers and competitors, you just have to keep an eye out for such opportunities.

Take a second to analyze how data is coming into your business right now and how you can further improve the process. Do you need to expand your efforts? Should you ask questions to consumers directly or implement new strategies to better understand their behavior?

 

2. Check for Quality

As more and more data is coming in, you need to have some sort of quality assurance process. Not every piece of data is valuable, and sometimes, it’s not 100% true if a user is inputting it themselves. So, it pays to be able to tell the great insights from the average.

Quality assurance doesn’t mean verifying every single thing that comes through or hunting down users to check for accuracy. It just means you should have an audit system in place to periodically check the data at random.

 

3. Create a Common Metadata Layer

Having a common metadata layer in place means sharing information across all your management and analytics platforms. This makes every aspect of your data gathering and application process more efficient.

Whether you’re trying to understand how well a social media campaign performed or looking at market behavior before you launch your next product, a common metadata layer is helpful. It streamlines much of the gathering process so you can dive right into understanding and making use of the data in front of you.

 

4. Give Each Piece of Data a Home

Another best practice to start using is organization. Try to make the data storage and retrieval process as simple as possible. There’s no need for you to go digging through files and files of data to find what you’re looking for.

Not to mention, it’s not fair for people who are constantly analyzing data to go on a wild goose chase for it all the time. Everything in your business should have a place – especially all the information you collect for it.

 

5. Make the Data Easy to Access

Better organization means easier access. But, improving the retrieval process doesn’t stop there. Don’t put up so many barriers between your team and the data they need.

This will only slow down the entire productivity of the business, and sometimes, it can confuse employees. Keep this from happening by making access easy for all.

 

6. Prepare for Cyber Threats

Speaking of making access easy, keep in mind this only applies to your internal team. There should still be plenty of data security in place to protect the data against a cyber attack.

The last thing you want is to work so hard to master data management best practices only to have your information compromised. This goes for internal files and projects as well as insightful market data.

The information you have is most useful when only your business has it to work with. If it slips into the hands of a competitor – or a hacker erases it completely – you’ve lost your innovative edge.

 

7. Put All Hands on Deck

Keep in mind that data management is the responsibility of everyone in your business. This is especially true as far as security is concerned.

It doesn’t matter if an entry-level employee is looking for basic information or if a c-suite executive is dealing with high-profile information – everyone has to be aware of their role. Data management is a serious business, and it requires the due diligence of each person on your team from the top down.

All it takes is one person’s negligence to compromise the data for everyone. To make your data security the most effective it can be, though, empower your people to protect it. Don’t scare them or say subtle threats; give them the tools to succeed in their data responsibilities and trust them to do so.

 

8. Understand What You’re Trying to Do with the Data You Have

At the end of the day, it doesn’t matter how much great data you have or how protected it is if you don’t have a sense of direction for it. Think about what the next steps of your business are and how the information available to you can get you from point A to point B.

Then, start thinking further ahead. You should always have a long-term plan for what you’d like to see a year or so down the line from the information you have now.

 

9. Set Your Eyes on the Future

Thinking about the future isn’t always about your company’s goals. Sometimes, it’s about the technological innovations that make data management easier. These go hand in hand with reaching the goals you’ve set in place, but, they’re something you can’t control.

It’s not like you can determine when the next big AI tool is coming out or how data management trends will shift. But, you do have a say in how quickly you react to these things and implement them in your business before everyone else.

 

Put Master Data Management Best Practices to Use

It’s one thing to read about master data management best practices and another to start using the insights listed here. Don’t wait for another second to improve your data processes.

The sooner you streamline, protect, and apply the data you have, the faster your business will grow. And don’t forget to keep checking back for more insights on how to use and analyze your data!