Five Data Management Priorities for Small Business

I try not to get too caught up in all the big data talk. But when it comes to overall data management, I do think small technology businesses have plenty of room for improvement.

Whether you work for a large enterprise or a small startup, I think your overall data priorities are the same. A good data management plan must address:

1. Data Gathering: What data gathering pipelines are you going to build? Certainly, this can include CRM systems, email marketing platforms, and tracking code to feed Google Analytics and other measurement systems.

2. Data Management & Storage: As you gather all of that data, how will it be managed and stored? What you're really talking about here is a master data management (MDM) strategy, which ensures you have one version of the truth for each data entry. For example, how many different instances of "Joe Panettieri" are in your marketing and email systems? How can you de-duplicate those entries and build one MDM database that contains a 360 degree view of every customer interaction?

3. Data Protection: Here, we're talking about proper data privacy, compliance and security policies -- and the associated technologies to protect all that data.

4. Data Analysis: What types of analytics will you use to analyze your data. What types of KPIs (key performance indicators) should you apply to the data? And can you get to a point of predictive analytics -- making it easier for your company to see cross-sell and up sell opportunities, or new market opportunities? 

5. Data Monetization: Once you perform your analysis in step four, what automated marketing and sales tools can you leverage to activate potential customer activities? 

Generally speaking, small businesses do a reasonable job with email marketing for data gathering. But that's only one communication channel -- and we now live in a multi-channel world, meaning that you've also got to tie phone, chat, social and other services into your overall data strategy. 

I'm pretty good at pointing out the challenges. But I might need a bit more time to figure out more of the solutions. And that's where you enter the picture. If you've got a great data management strategy that covers the five points above -- or, perhaps different points -- please tell me about it (Joe@AfterNines.com)...

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