With analytics taking a central role in most companies’ daily operations, managing the massive data streams organizations create is more important than ever. Effective business intelligence is the product of data that is scrubbed, properly stored, and easy to find. When your organization uses raw data without proper management procedures, your results suffer.
The first step towards creating better data for analytics starts with managing data the right way. Establishing clear protocols and following them can help streamline the analytics process, offer better insights, and simplify the process of handling data. You can start by implementing these five rules to manage your data more efficiently.
1. Establish Clear Analytics Goals Before Getting Started
As the amount of data produced by organizations daily grows exponentially, sorting through terabytes of information can become problematic and reduce the efficiency of analytics. Such large data sets require significantly longer times to scrub and properly organize. For companies that deal with multiple streams that exhibit heavy bandwidth, having a clear line of sight towards business and analytics goals can help reduce inflows and prioritize relevant data.
It’s important to establish clear objectives for data and create parameters that filter out data points that are irrelevant or unclear. This facilitates pre-screening datasets and makes scrubbing and sorting easier by reducing white noise. Additionally, you can focus even more on measuring specific KPIs to further filter out the right data from the stream.
2. Simplify and Centralize Your Data Streams
Another problem analytics suites face is reconciling disparate data from multiple streams. Organizations have internal, third-party, customer, and other data that must be considered as part of a larger whole instead of viewed in isolation. Leaving data as-is can be damaging to insights, as different sources may use unique formats or different styles.
Before allowing multiple streams to connect to your data analytics software, your first step should be establishing a process to collect data more centrally and unify it. This centralization makes it easier to input data seamlessly into analytics tools, but also simplifies the methodology for users to find and manipulate data. Consider how to set up your data streams best to reduce the number of sources to eventually produce more unified sets.
3. Scrub Your Data Before Warehousing
The endless stream of data raises questions about quality and quantity. While having more information is preferable, data loses its usefulness when it’s surrounded by noise and irrelevant points. Unscrubbed data sets make it harder to uncover insights, properly manage databases, and access information later.
Before worrying about data warehousing and access, consider the processes in place to scrub data to produce clean sets. Create phases that ensure data relevance is considered while effectively filtering out data that is not pertinent. Additionally, make sure the process is as automated as possible to reduce wasted resources. Implementing functions such as data classification and pre-sorting can help expedite the cleaning process.
4. Establish Clear Data Governance Protocols
One of the biggest emerging issues facing data management is data governance. Because of the sensitive nature of many sources—consumer information, sensitive financial details, and so on—concerns about who has access to information are becoming a central topic in data management. Moreover, allowing free access to datasets and storage can lead to manipulation, mistakes, and deletions that could prove damaging.
It’s vital to establish clear and explicit rules about who can access data, when, and how. Creating tiered permission systems (read, read/write, admin) can help limit the exposure to mistakes and danger. Additionally, sorting data in ways that facilitate access to different groups can help manage data access better without the need to give free rein to all team members.
5. Create Dynamic Data Structures
Many times, storing data is reduced to a single database that limits how you can manipulate it. Static data structures are effective for holding data, but they are restrictive when it comes to analyzing and processing it. Instead, data managers should place a greater emphasis towards creating structures that encourage deeper analysis.
Dynamic data structures present a way to store real-time data that allows users to connect points better. Using three-dimensional databases, finding methods to reshape data rapidly, and creating more inter-connected data silos can help contribute to more agile business intelligence. Generate databases and structures that simplify accessing and interacting with data rather than isolating it.
The fields of data management and analytics are constantly evolving. For analytics teams, it’s vital to create infrastructures that are future-proofed and offer the best possible insights for users. By establishing best practices and following them as closely as possible, organizations can significantly enhance the quality of the insights their data produces.