The data that your office relies on everyday can often grow and even spiral out of control. As your data grows on a daily basis, it is important to think of effective ways to organize it all.  Here are some tips presented by Mary Schacklett of Big Data on how to store and keep your data.

1. Reframe data cleanup as a business integration problem

A major issue that users seem to have is having data that doesn't work with other data because it is in a different format or is known under a different name. A similarly named file might even have various field sizes in different systems and be referenced a variety of ways among departments confusing everyone.

Problems like these are bigger than just data discrepancies and inaccuracies. They could reflect disparate systems that are duplicating efforts because different business units are actually doing the same things and aren't even aware of it because they're using different systems that overlap with each other.

Confusing? Exactly.

Thus, in these cases, it makes more sense to get together with all of the users and departments to decide which system gets retired and which system stays so you can reduce the confusion. You might have a one-time job of porting over data from an old system to a new one, but you'll never have to do that job again.

2. Use tools and services that minimize impact to business processes

"When companies come to us, they tell us that they have data that is scattered over many different systems and in all types of formats and that the quality of this data is poor," said Vivek Joshi, CEO of Entytle, which focuses on helping manufacturers sell more product to their after-market customer basis. "Companies want to make sense of this data and they don't know where to begin. They hire us because we have experience with purposeful algorithms and analytics that we use to clean and align this data so it is usable for them."

Joshi says that his company also makes integration of the data less painful for clients. "We do this by adding a click-on tab to existing system menus so users can just click and be routed to the data and the analytics as they need them, and then return to the system they are working in," he said, "The integration of the data analytics with a given system platform can be that simple."

The benefit for companies selecting tools and methods from outside vendors is that data becomes usable quickly and the pain of business process revision is all but avoided.

3. Don't avoid business process revisions where they are needed

While quick data and system integration tools are appreciated, companies should still understand that it is necessary to revise business processes so the business is operationally aligned with its mission and its customers.

For instance, a product engineer who once handed off a design to manufacturing and then forgot about it might need to continuously collaborate with manufacturing and even customer service in today's word of shrinking product cycles. If engineering doesn't stay "plugged in," it risks missing valuable product improvement insights that are gathered from customer feedback on product performance and ease of use.

4. Decide which data you want to keep

It is impossible for organizations to clean and store every piece of data that rushes into their businesses—even with the most efficient data cleaning and preparation tools. This is why it is absolutely paramount that IT sit down with the different user departments throughout the company to determine which data gets stored—and which gets dumped. Once you make the decision, keeping up with your mission-critical data concerns—and keeping your data clean— get easier.

Following these tips can help your organization keep its data "in check" even as it continues to grow.  If you want to learn more about IT and Data Cleanup from one of our experts, give us a call today!