Five Ways to Avoid Data Overload

by John Burke

2 min read

The unending flow of seemingly useful information can increase the expense of data storage for a small business. As the amount of stored information accumulates, it becomes more difficult to manage and access. This process makes many companies data rich but insight poor. Consider the potential savings of time and money when your organization limits its data storage to information that suits its business model.

Selective Approaches for Data Use

Create a plan for your business to utilize appropriate information management solutions and establish rigorous standards for data retention with these three approaches.

  • Consider reducing the number of dashboards and tools your team uses to those that provide information on key performance indicators (KPI). For example, tools that reveal opportunities for generating new revenue and those that track movements in revenue are more useful than those concerned with customer sentiment or “buzz.”
  • Pay attention to the signal-to-noise ratio coming from various data sources. If too much of the information from a source concerns unimportant statistics for achieving the goals of your business, eliminate that source from your list. Simplify your database by selecting information sources that pertain to individual subjects, rather than complex, bulky reports that address multiple subjects.
  • Determine whether specific sources of data provide you with the quality of information that is instructive about some aspect of your business operations. Rank each source according to the importance of the information to your business. This process can help you screen information, facilitating the reduction of stored data.

Streamline Your Company’s Data Analytics

Develop effective tools to analyze data to reduce the costs of data storage and management with these two options:

  • Change your focus to consider only the most useful information presented by your tools and analytics, and limit the time you spend on data analysis. Extended research projects generate more data, often making it more difficult and time consuming to identify the most useful information for achieving the goals of your business. Establish new priorities for your decision-making process to evaluate and act upon the most valuable data, rather than inconsequential statistics. Pay attention to how well your business serves mobile customers, and understand how people interact with apps differently than the way they use websites.
  • Make sure all of the teams within your organization share their data by utilizing mobile accessibility. This can avoid unnecessary duplication of effort and wasted time. Duplicated data clogs the flow of useful information throughout your business. When different teams share data, try to reduce the presentations to a visual format, making it less time consuming to convey the relevant information. Save time and expense by ensuring the systems in use by each team are integrated. This can help avoid reformatting and multiple uploads of redundant information.

Using Data Storage in the Cloud

You may want to take advantage of cloud-based storage for the multitude of receipts, invoices, vendor profiles, and other documents that your business saves for accounting purposes. QuickBooks Online accounting software allows you to attach a wide range of documents pertaining to your business transactions. Using QuickBooks Online with QuickBooks Payroll eliminates the need to make duplicate entries to a payroll processing platform. The system automatically backs up data on a daily basis to prevent unavailability resulting from system outages.

References & Resources

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