posted by Development
In the grand scheme of things, not really. Digital information is capable of doing so much more for your business goals than the Word Processing-style spreadsheets you're used to using. You've probably heard the term "database" and you may even have a general idea of what a database is. If you're not certain as to why databases are the right way to go for your business' information, we can help.
Information should be centralized
If everybody who has any control over your data is unusually disciplined, organized, and thorough, you might end up with a perfectly accessible, perfectly navigable system. Even then, it's hardly guaranteed. Maintaining accurate data is one level of challenge, as addresses, project details and unit statuses are constantly changing; maintaining well-organized data that allows you to take on the challenge of accuracy is its own undertaking entirely.
While working with computerized data takes some of the problems out of organizing your data, document versioning, date stamping and copied files seem to be the tradeoff for upgrading from a pencil and paper. Even if you keep your files on a central server, information may be duplicated across files themselves - when you update one without realizing the duplication, you suddenly have inconsistent information. These problems are inherent to managing your information as a series of independent files, but the structure of a database circumvents all of them.
Entities, types of entities and relationships between them: not just text
Databases store information as unique entries of defined types that access each other by defining relationships rather than simply referring to each other's names. The advantages of this are numerous:
How do I get started?
- When "Sample Company" updates its brand standards and is now "SampleCompany," all of the projects, contacts, tasks and entries that were in any way related to "Sample Company" are now related to "SampleCompany" in the same way, without anything else changing.
- By identifying "SampleCompany" as an entity, a database-driven system can quickly look up its founder, Jen Sample, and display her office number, by her relationship to the company. This allows a business management platform to ask the database complex, but useful, questions, such as "Display all of the office phone numbers for employees in leadership positions at SampleCompany."
- The displayed content can be abundant with automatically created, context-driven links to more relevant content, so your users can quickly move from a task for a project to the product that that project is about, to a distributor for that product, all simply by following the flow of related information.
- Every item becomes searchable.
Start by getting a general sense of all of the types of entries, useful categories that entries may fall into, the kinds of information you'll want to store per type of entry and the relationships between them. It might not hurt to draw out a map like this one:
Then, contact us
about making your data map a reality. We'll review your ideas, help you refine your plan and build it into a fully functional business information center for you. If your marketing stack
is already driven by a database, we can help you add on and integrate it for the most usable, streamlined, effective system possible.
TAGS: marketing, Data, database, brand, spreadsheet, business, digital, information, entry, thundertech, web
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