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Back to Basics – Data Management

  • June 9, 2021

Data Management

It is a capital mistake to theorize before one has data. — Sherlock Holmes


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What is Information Management and why it matters:

When we hear Information or Data Management, the connotation heads straight to modern technology and computer applications used to store, manage and process data; right? For a company not used to relying more and more on technology, data management may seem intimidating… At first. Hear us out.

Information management isn’t a new concept if you really think about it. Let’s rewind a few years. In the 50’s and earlier, punch cards were the primary means of storing data. Information management actually goes way back.

The problem started when companies simply could not keep up with the manual labour required to process the data “punched” into these little cards. Companies literally had to dedicate entire floors of computers to accompany the processing power needed to manage the data stored on these cards. That sounds like a tedious process, right?

Ironically, over 70 years later, many companies are still processing data much like those punch cards. Maybe not in the form of punch cards, of course, but in the form of excel sheets, word documents, remote PDF documents, separate lists and more. The more scattered your data becomes, the more tedious the process becomes. 

Modern information management is a game-changer, because you can still make use of the applications you’re used to like Excel, Word, Sage and more; that’s the wonder of it all. It’s incremental changes that simplify a process yet expands your horizons simultaneously. How? Creating a central point for your data, and we mean all of it.

Take one of your clients as an example. Imagine seeing all of their contact details as well as information on the company they work for all from one central location, including all their files and notes made about this client by your team, as well as their interaction with your company and pending details. Imagine that with one click, you could call or email them, directly from that page. At this point you can stop imagining, as that is exactly what Salesforce offers. It does not only focus on “what” you see, but also “how” you see it. Standards for entering data or information can be introduced, such as picklists, checkboxes and validation rules to ensure clean and usable data. 

If we simplify information management, it all comes down to taking your company’s data, or information, and processing it, organizing it and gathering intelligence from it. In the process, you can equip your workforce not only to have access to this information, but also to contribute to it efficiently and effectively – especially when you take that data management and make it cloud-based, or online. Doing this will skyrocket your company to a new level. That kind of shift makes growth inevitable, depending on where your company is at – and where it could be.

Cloud business software became a reality in 1999, when Salesforce took the lead by offering the delivery of applications via their website. As SmartenUp, you can imagine why we’re such proud partners of Salesforce.

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Let’s use a practical example to demonstrate further:

Let’s continue to have a look at how SmartenUp has used tools to enhance Posh Wash’s data management. If you haven’t read our blog on Business Automation, our blog on Team Collaboration and our blog on Customer Experience, we suggest you reference them first and continue with this example thereafter, as this example is only part of a whole series.

Thandi understands that being able to see details about her customer base is key in properly managing and growing her business. Currently all customer information is stored on a shared Google Drive.

When a new customer places an order, a Customer Agent fills in a table on a Word document to capture all the details of the customer. A Customer Agent then also ensures that orders are captured on a spreadsheet so that order detail, nature and history of customers can be tracked. This system only works well if everyone follows the same standard for capturing information, but unfortunately human error does creep in.

In addition, it can take a while to find information of a particular client when Thandi’s team is collaborating on a work order along the process chain, whether it is over email, WhatsApp or in person. 

By designing a central database for Posh Wash’s customers, where team members can easily access customer information, it saves everyone a lot of time and significantly increases productivity. 

From a central 360 degree view of a customer on one screen, a customer can easily be searched for using any keyword pertaining to that customer. When they click on any specific customer, they can see all personal details, order history, queries logged, and who from Posh Wash interacted with a customer. What is more is that any interaction can be logged on a customer’s page, including emails, calls, tasks assigned to team members and internal conversations between all team members at Posh Wash. 

This has increased productivity in a number of ways:

  • The time now spent looking for customer information and job order details or linking up pieces of information is cut in half.
  • Information can very easily be found, referred to, and collaborated on from both a desktop and mobile device, from anywhere. 
  • Standards for entering, displaying and working with information have been set up, such as picklists, checkboxes, and validation rules, instead of free text. This ensures that a uniform standard is maintained and significantly enriches data quality, and ensures that it is clean, usable and accessible.
  • The quality of information and the manner in which it is displayed is no longer dependent on the quality of the data capturer. 
  • Thandi can monitor everything from team performance to customer behaviour to analyse areas for growth or room for improvement. All of this without having to call a meeting or depend on one of her team members. 

Stay tuned for more insights and practical information, with our weekly blog posts. See you next time!






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