As businesses seek to become constantly more efficient, having easy access to data is an essential part of the drive to enhance productivity.

More and more companies are turning to data management software to streamline the way information is stored and retrieved. The software is effectively a program that merges files from a number databases, depending on the scale of the business. The program can extract, filter and summarize this data without interference and without losing integrity, presenting it in a format that is easy to use. The program is also known as data extraction software.

What type of platform is appropriate?

Before determining what software is most appropriate, the first step is to decide what platform for a document management system will best suit the organization. There are three platforms to consider, and to start the process a business needs to think about exactly what its requirements are for managing data.

For a single user interface the simplest and most inexpensive solution in general is a database designed to run on a desktop or laptop PC. Businesses that need multiuser access to a database are likely to require a server. Costs can be considerable but the platform allows the organization to store large amounts of data. It also means that data is updated simultaneously with other information.

A database that is web-enabled is common nowadays, web integration being coupled with a desktop for the platform. It’s also an inexpensive option, but before choosing which platform to use businesses should take the time to weigh up the most effective option.

Software selection

In the same way that deciding on the appropriate platform has to be done with suitable input from managers and other employees who will be using the system, selecting the appropriate software solution also requires careful consideration.

Business owners small and large should question what they want from their information and then decide on the best tool for the job. Budgets, organizational size and what use is required from the database have to be factored in.

Operational objectives are key at this stage so that the data management software is fit for purpose. A small business has different requirements to a medium-sized or large corporate organization. It’s perfectly possible for an off-the-shelf solution to work if the functions have been clearly thought through, but it may be that a customized piece of software would work better in some situations.

Depending on what the final decisions are it is important to ensure that any software selected will support both Mac and PC platforms. If using a server solution this should be discussed in detail with the provider. If the solution is to use a hosted management system through a Cloud based provider there won’t be a problem. Users can simply access the data management program by logging on to the appropriate website using their browsers.

Benefits of data management software

Businesses rely on data to make key decisions, so the ability to pull data from a range of sources quickly enables them to make well-informed business decisions, and fast. Data is laid out clearly;it is well organized and easy to read.

Data management software allows business owners assess financial risks and thus more options on how to control or reduce them. Costs could be cut in specific areas, for example, and more resources allocated to departments that need them. If production needs to be increased more employees can be taken on.

Generating reports can be very time consuming, but with the right data management program data can be pulled from a number of sources and compiled into a report quickly and accurately, and then shared with every employee that needs to see it.

Time spent on tedious tasks such as financial plans, contract details and product creation and development plans can also be saved by using the right program, freeing up resources to devote to expanding and developing the business.

Potential problems

Installing a data management system can prove problematic if it hasn’t been thought through properly.

One of the major problems can come down to cost. A custom made solution will be more expensive than a cheap program, so a forensic examination of the costs and benefits to the company is essential before deciding what to go for.

Security of data is a major issue for any organization, whether in finance, law, government or corporate business. An organization must set up a robust security system at the outset that is regularly checked to ensure the possibility of data loss is limited.

Data management, in the ever rising tech world, is becoming more and more important to save valuable employee time, to cut on costs, and to hopefully remove human error, thus increasing productivity in the workplace: all that needs to be done is choose which platform would be most suited, and plan plan plan.

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