Quite rightly, when we think about data, the first thing we think about is data protection. Security. The laws and regulations which govern how we store and secure customer details, compliance with laws, directives and regulation – or the codes of best practice – that we use in storing and securing customer details.
Add a few strong passwords, find an organisational data protection officer, add a dose of corporate responsibility and the right personal approach and you’re safe. Phew!
But as other more erudite articles on this theme show, it’s not *quite* as easy as all that.
We’d like to add another dimension to the debate.
Data = customer
Data is the word mentioned first in the phrase data protection.
We think it’s because it’s the most important part. But where does it come from?
Data comes from our customers.
Data is about customers.
How we treat data, and our responsibility to it, is a reflection of how we treat our customers.
Data – and data protection – is as much about user experience and customer care as it is technical systems and compliance.
You may call the people in your organisation different things – customers, partners, prospects, stakeholders …. The words don’t matter. The sentiment does.
Surely this is all just semantics?
It’s much easier to be animated, interested and excited about people than it is about data. It’s easier to think about data protection if you are applying people to the process – this is about our customer, what’s the right thing to do for them?
And as for doing the right thing by them – here’s our 5 point roadmap to help you keep on top of your data
Silo the data silos
At the risk of sounding patronising, it’s really hard to look after data when it’s all over the place. Data silos are common in organisations – donations and enquiries in one place, website and social media date elsewhere, perhaps even data about members and their registration data kept somewhere else. Never mind our personal preferences for spreadsheets a plenty.
Part of your organisations roadmap should include integration of data. This may not happen overnight but it should be a priority for many reasons.
The very first of these is that you cannot properly manage and use your organisations data – or support your customers – if information about them is in multiple places. The second of these is that you’re not using a full 360 view of your stakeholders to make decisions if your data is not integrated. You may be missing key changes or trends.
If it’s not on your list, chances are it won’t happen
Data needs to be looked after. There are tasks to be done to keep it clean and in tip top condition, useable, current and informative. Let’s be very realistic, unless you’re some kind of Super-Manager, it’s very hard to keep on top of absolutely everything, and inevitably some of the tasks which are not seen as urgent or vital to move forwards, will move down the priority list.
I’d urge you to make weekly, monthly, quarterly and annual tasks relating to your data a priority. A very simple reason is that the time it takes to do the task will become greater the longer you leave it.
If someone has been making a basic data entry error for 6 months, that’s a lot more knitting to unpick than a month’s work.
Pragmatically, for many of us while we know data is important, data tasks could be some of the little jobs that make our heart sink (all jobs have them) and don’t fill us with excitement. All the more reason to deal with it when it’s small! Make sure your data tasks are on your priority list.
Be on hand to help, monitor and manage
There are those of us that get excited about databases and systems. Then there are the rest of the organisation who kind of know there’s a system, might have to interact with it but are not quite sure of what it is or why.
Sharing insight across the organisation helps everyone understand the relevance and importance of what’s in the system and how it can help you with your shared vision.
It also highlights you to the organisation as the person who carries the mantle for it and people can approach you for guidance more easily.
A champion is also useful for new starters helping them get started and look after data in the right way, right from the beginning.
The landscape we work in changes all the time – new tech, new programmes, new opportunities. Not all of these will be relevant to you, but it’s important to keep an eye on the trends, innovations and updates that take place.
Find a blog you trust (this one is a great start!), and just scan it every week or so.
Keep in touch with your implementation partner or vendor – some may offer ongoing training or updates for clients.
Find ways to keep up with the new, fresh and exciting so you maintain your enthusiasm data, your systems and approaches and it isn’t something else ‘to do’ but is something else to grow and develop.
Just as you will occasionally seek medical advice if there’s something wrong, you can do the same with your CRM. If you have an issue, call the partner who helped you install it – you may have sensibly bought some after sales support from them, or they may be able to offer this to you on an ad hoc basis. Healthcare is about prevention as well as cure.
An investment in the health of your system will help keep it working smoothly – and if you don’t have the time or expertise to manage it in house, you will need to recognise and allocate an ongoing sum to seek the help you need.
You’ve invested a lot of time and money in the system; don’t forget to protect your asset.
Find out more
Purple Vision offers health-checks for Raiser’s Edge and Salesforce as well as support with data, analytics and CRM. Contact us to find out more.