Data Structuring

You Probably Don’t Think About Your Data a Lot

Most companies and their employees aren’t sitting around thinking about their data. Unless your business is data storage, that’s pretty understandable. If you manufacturer or sell products, then your company has data that describes your products. During the course of a day, your company probably collects lots of data about customers also. When all is said and done, that data surrounds your business and maybe, just maybe, impacts your business.

When you think about it, though, that data is an asset.

Turn Data into Information

A user reads an email that you sent them and in your email marketing system, it records that they read the email. That’s data. On it’s own, it’s a yes in some database corresponding to “Did User Open Email”? It doesn’t hold a lot of value. But, when that user is a potential customer, the email is one detailing a proposed job worth $10,000, then the data becomes information. Because that informs sales staff that the customer might be interested in the job. If you could add other data points like if they clicked any links in the email to indicate starting the job or went to the website to look up things further, now that data becomes super-relevant information.

Data becomes information when it has relevancy. It has relevancy when its used in context for a specific action.

Where is Your Data?

I’ve met companies who store customer data in Excel Spreadsheets sitting on one computer in their back office. Those Spreadsheets are only available when the person who uses the computer is in the office. Beyond Excel, I know other customers whose complete customer file is in an older version of QuickBooks on one computer. We’re talking thousands of customer files that could be lost with the wrong set of keystrokes, electricity, or a magnet. So, ask yourself this first question, where is your data even stored?

Beyond where it’s stored, what can you do with it? Is it structured in a way that you could dive into your customer list and return the last 100 people that you did business with? Could you return a list of 100 customers in a specific town that you haven’t worked with in five years? Could you return a list of customers that bought one specific product but didn’t buy another that’s complementary?

Just on customer data alone, companies are sitting on information that could be used to generate months of business but aren’t doing anything with it. Well, other than storing it on a desktop that is still running Windows 7.

Can Your Data Be Shared?

Besides customer data, your business probably has other data that could be shared in a way that would be meaningful to possible customers. If you manufacturer products, the specifications and information about those products are all data points that should be stored in such a way that other companies who sell your products as well as customers can access them. A PDF document is not the best way to share data points. Sure, they can be pretty to look at but when a customer or store needs to continually look up that information, having another way to get it, a publicly facing is a better suited. If you’d rather it not be public, there are credential-based systems that allow access through an API that can deliver a more secure route.

Consider that even a blog post could be data if you have other companies that would use it.

At the end of the day, these are just avenues to sharing data. Making the decision to put that data out there to be shared is really the biggest step.

I Help Companies Shape and Access Data

I never really thought much about data until I started working with automation systems. When I was designing email marketing platforms that pulled data from other sources, that’s when I started thinking about where data was and how it was structured. There are multiple tools out there that can help companies structure their data from CRMs (Customer Relationship Management systems) to even something as simple as a SQL database (that works for WordPress) to other tools. I can help companies explore their data, build and implement a strategy to store and access their data, and develop platforms to share relevant data also.

My Process

Everything starts with a conversation so here’s the way that I have found works the best for my clients and I:

  1. We’ll talk about your business, data, how the data is structured and stored, how you currently use it, and what you’re overall goals are.
  2. I’ll create a detailed report about your data situation, make recommendations, and design some high-level examples of how you might utilize these recommendations and data to meet goals. In those recommendations might be proposals for website work as well as email marketing strategies.
  3. Based upon the recommendations chosen, I’ll begin to build a detailed strategy of the systems, structure, and workflows to store, access, and utilize the data.
  4. Upon approval of strategies, I will set up the system that is chosen, begin transferring data, and building the workflows. If any of these systems involve companies to work with, I will interface with them to ensure project completion. I will also train staff relevant to systems.
  5. Any outstanding work regarding automation and data structuring will then be worked on.

I am always available to answer questions and provide support.