Get Data Slim in 2019
New Year, New Data Management Practices
It’s resolution season again, and the new year is a fantastic time to look into making some changes. We love the idea of setting a goal for 2019. Whether it’s eating healthier, losing weight, or even making the hilarious resolution to not make any more resolutions, we believe there’s always room for improvement. This doesn’t just apply to our personal lives. Making a resolution for your business is the perfect catalyst for getting some new plans in place this year.
In the worlds of distribution and manufacturing, it’s a great idea to start the year with a good ol’ data cleanup. If you’ve hoarded your records and stored them away like the dollar bills under your Grandma’s mattress for a full year, your data warehouse might be a little fuller than you’d like. For a few pointers on getting your data depository all shiny and clean, the following five tips will help get things organized.
Delete or Combine Duplicate Contacts
We’ve all seen this one. Same contact, 12 different entries all spelled differently. When you see these duplicates, it’s a good idea to merge them into one, combining all the pieces of the puzzle into one full picture for the contact. Sometimes the duplicate entry is simply the result of the contact’s name being spelled wrong the first time they were entered. Records like this can usually be deleted. Merging duplicates and getting rid of incorrect records strengthens the data as a whole by making data searches more accurate, and by decreasing wasted time sorting through any incorrect records.
Set a Standard for Data Entry
Have multiple users responsible for data entry? When data input is handled by multiple people, each with their own method of entry, there’s likely some inconsistencies across these input methods. Without a method of standardization, records quickly become disorganized. Setting a standard for your data right at the point of entry will help anyone entering new data know exactly what is expected, resulting in high-quality data input.
Find an Owner
Sure, it might not be the flashiest job out there, but having someone take ownership of the cleanup process will provide much more tangible results than simply adding it onto the to-do list and waiting for someone to tackle it. A dedicated project owner doesn’t have to be the only person responsible for cleanup efforts, but they’ll be able to provide direction and clarity throughout the entire process. If your data is really messy, you might be surprised by how willing people are to contribute to the cleanup effort.
Set (Realistic) Deadlines
Creating a plan for cleaning up your data without setting any deadlines is like getting all dressed up and not going anywhere. Sure, you look good, but what’s the point? Saying you’re going to clean up your company data without setting deadlines is likely to result in the cleanup never happening, or happening much slower than you’d like. Setting realistic, achievable deadlines will give the cleanup process meaning to your employees, and will grant opportunities to see measurable progress as the project continues.
Any time data is going to be updated or deleted, it’s crucial to take a backup in case things don’t go according to plan. Not only do backups provide an option to fall back on if things go awry, it’s also much less stressful to make changes when you know you’ve got a safety net. Additionally, establishing a regular backup protocol can prevent weeks of headaches in case disaster strikes. Having a backup is a bit like having a life jacket: It doesn’t do much when you don’t need it, but when you do, it’s a lifesaver.
And there you have it! Utilizing the steps above will have you well on your way to a pristine data set in no time. For a deeper dive into your business and its all of its processes (not just data management), there’s always the option of a Business Process Review to streamline operations across your entire company.