All businesses collect data, but not all businesses go beyond bookkeeping and customer profiles; the ones that do are driving growth. By collecting and analyzing data from all over your company, you will earn greater insight into customer buying patterns, competitor performance, and employee information and behaviors. As a whole, your business will run more efficiently if data collection and analytics are properly managed.
The Importance of Accurate Data Collection
Data collection isn’t exactly easy; it requires research, organization, and consistency. In most cases data is better collected and stored using enterprise resource planning (ERP) software, which can collect, store, manage, and interpret data from several different business activities. Use the ERP look-up tool to determine which software is most beneficial to your company.
Data collection should begin with planning. Start by creating a workflow or procedure. You can detail your methods with simple step-by-step instructions. Evaluate this workflow often to ensure its efficiency. When collecting data, attempt to stay as organized as possible and make sure you’re backing up and protecting all of your electronic files. Use software to record product planning details, purchases, manufacturing information, service deliveries, employee clock-in and clock-out times, and so much more. You’ll find this software in a quality ERP, which will take that information and then analyze it.
According to Responsible Conduct in Data Management published by Northern Illinois University, there are some fairly serious consequences from improperly collecting data. For businesses, the most destructive consequences include wasted resources, distorted findings, and wasting time by pursuing fruitless endeavors. To mitigate the potential for bad data collection, be sure to set up quality assurance (preventing problems before data collection) and quality control (monitoring and detection during and after data collection).
Make Data Collection and Analytics a Team Effort
“Teamwork makes the dream work,” said leadership expert John C. Maxwell. Your employees and partners need to work together to ensure data isn’t just collected, but collected accurately. This means regular employee evaluations. (Evaluations are a form of data collection too, but they’re going to ensure you’re able to measure a department’s performance, including your IT department’s performance).
Small businesses are urged to teach their employees the importance of accuracy in data collection and analytics. Data is needed to ensure the right decisions are made in regards to customers, products, and more. It’s called business intelligence, and it’s the duty of your team to process data, add context to that data, and look at the analytics of the data to determine trends, patterns, and more. Accurately collected data means you’ll know when peak shopping times are occurring, what your hottest selling items are, and which of your employees are slacking. The consequences of inaccurate data can be devastating, so give time and attention to training your team to collect data as accurately as possible.
Data is easiest to collect and analyze when it’s plugged into software. Of course, there is always going to be human error in data entry, but some software is designed to account for errors or detect them. Moreover, data collection and analytic software are designed to help companies identify growth opportunities, save money, increase competitiveness, and assist management with decision making. Don’t rely on the old noggin,’ let an intelligent system manage your data collection and use it to increase your company’s profitability.