Table of Contents
- What is data management?
- Features of Data Management Systems
- Types of Data Management (DM) tools
One of the main reasons why a business will hit snags, is the expansion of its database. In addition to storage problems, you may find increasingly complicated management issues, duplication across different systems and hard drives; and difficulty in the location, sharing and checking of isolated data.
For any company that takes its internal organization and a projection of its digital future seriously, a Data Management strategy with the right tools is indispensable as part of its overall business strategy.
What is data management?
Data Management (DM) systems are sophisticated yet very powerful management tools, capable of ensuring rigorous storage, synchronization, analysis and distribution of company data (namely, data ranging from the products or services it sells, to information on employees, suppliers, distributors and customers).
Data Management is an important process that can involve a number of tools specialized in the management of product information, customer databases, administrative and financial resources, multimedia files and other data.
The key to these DM systems is automation, which saves time and costs and eliminates redundancies and errors in the databases, as well as sending the information to other channels or to other people or companies (including commercial, warehouse, sellers and distributors).
In other words, Data Management is a heterogeneous, multiplatform process comprising several tools with different objectives, that helps achieve a centralized harmony of data in the day-to-day running of a company.
Features of Data Management Systems
This is much more than a system like Dropbox. The best data management programs won’t stop at providing you with a large folder where you can store all your data but without any order or organization.
These management tools will also integrate with your company's other software programs and include features for analyzing data, checking for omissions, monitoring the usage of each file and updating associated applications and platforms.
The huge effort involved in the digital handling of a company’s entire data means that data management systems will be indispensable tools for saving time, streamlining processes and making better use of all of your company's resources:
- They can handle any volume. No matter how much your database grows, data management systems can easily manage unlimited quantities of data and fields.
- They facilitate global working. Any user with permission can access the data management tools from any device and place, and thus continue to work in any circumstance and from any country. This cloud-based functionality of data management programs is perfectly suited to the needs of working remotely and to synchronizing teams and information across multiple countries.
- They eliminate data redundancies and omissions. Such errors were very difficult to detect manually, but with automated data management tools the level of accuracy of your content will be close to 100%.
- They guarantee a high level of security, efficiency and privacy, which is essential if you are to leave all the company's information in the hands of a single tool. In addition, they include backup generation, a history of changes and options for recovery of past data.
- They save on storage. Thousands of Excel files, photos in different formats and Word docs with translations may give rise to any company’s chaotic predicament. A data management system can help save on space, since it will include its own storage system (better still if it’s in the cloud) and also on the cost of subscribing to accounts like Dropbox.
- They optimize data access. Your teams will also save a lot of time by locating data that’s specific and always correct, incorporating it into the central database and exporting it to any format to share with third parties, across other digital channels or in marketing strategies.
Occasionally, data management tools that incorporate a lot of features are oriented to an enterprise-level business profile, and this comes with a very high cost.
In addition, the process of implementing data management tools in a company is tricky and requires specialized personnel and the training of employees and teams.
After all, with any data management program, new working methods will be introduced that everyone will have to become familiar with, and a period of adaptation and testing will be needed, which will depend on the complexity of your company's data structure.
You’ll also need to spend considerable time to manage all the permits and access rights, and to activate the new protocols for security and data management.
The good news is that there are more and more types of cloud data-management tools that are streamlined and come with an onboarding process that’s easy for your company, including tech support, and thus installation times can be reduced to just a few weeks.
Types of Data Management tools
So you’d like to put the power of DM to the test? These are the most popular and useful Data Management tools for companies that are interested in making the leap to digitization:
Product Information Management (PIM)
This is the ultimate tool for manufacturers and retailers seeking a centralized control platform for all their product content.
In an automated and synchronized way, a PIM or Product Information Management solution will take care of the managing, correcting and sending of product information across all sales channels, catalog design programs, and/or agents such as retailers and commercial outlets.
And at Sales Layer this is what we are all about: discover all its advantages and consult us if you need help to dispel any doubts you may have in choosing the best data management for your company.
Master Data Management (MDM)
These are tools that manage the central and master data of a company, at the levels of business, employees, customers, accounts, operations, regulations and so on.
MDM programs include data cleansing, centralization, key mapping, transaction control, multi-domain support, information distribution and global synchronization in different locations. Some examples are SAP NetWeaver, Microsoft MQL, Oracle or IBM InfoSphere.
This is the process that adapts your data to the format needed in order for it to be stored in the company's database. The types of data management tools in this category allow you to generate conceptual models and establish the rules for consistency and quality that your data must meet.
Data Warehouse (DW)
These are programs dedicated to generating storage locations for your data, therefore they are usually linked to hardware already available within your company and do not include management processes that are specialized according to data type. They are tools for storage, but by themselves they provide neither a structure nor smart analysis of information.
Other processes that may include their own tools are data quality analysis, metadata, data architecture, security and storage.
Another aspect is that data management tools can organize your data according to different criteria, such as a relational model, hierarchical (in tree format) or as a network.
Such protocol will influence the type of DM you need; for example, in product data management, relational databases are useful for linking mutually dependent information fields such as model, size, and color.
Brand names like Oracle, Microsoft or IBM may seem a bit intimidating at first glance. But there are tools on the market that are adapted to any given company profile, and scalable data management systems that adapt to the data volume and needs of small, medium and large companies.
To have a centralized and automated database is the basic aim of any business whether it’s just starting to grow or is well established. And to achieve this, a large number of tools are not necessary. Depending on the needs of your business, you can access all the features you’re looking for from a single platform.
The Sales Layer PIM combines data centralization, external channel networking, data quality analysis and unlimited cloud storage. It's the data management control center for manufacturers and retailers: try it out with your own product catalog free for 30 days — and digitize your company's future.