Data is produced daily and remains a key resource for businesses. Unlike other resources, data keeps growing the more it is used. Despite this fact, data remains one of the most underutilized resources in the business field.
A business can have a wide range of data sources. When it comes to the specific business system, it becomes a treasure. The data must be stored and processed to benefit the company. To achieve this, the concerned people must first understand the type of data they are handling.
Every type of business in the world engages in two main activities – buying and selling. These are the main activities that sustain any type of business. The company spends money through buying and earns profits through selling.
The processes of buying and selling involve different types of activities. Customers connect to the business systems through various applications. Some of these are payment gateways, while others are the web of point sale servers. They can connect with applications such as online withdrawal apps, ATMs, and security software.
The data generated daily could reach thousands of gigabytes or several terabytes. In-memory computing provides easy data storage and processing solutions to eliminate delays and downtimes. This data that is gathered from daily business transactions is what is called transactional data.
Transactional data provide specific transaction details that make analyzing and recording easier. It records the time of the transaction and the location where it was done. It shows the quantities involved, the payment used, and the total cost. If there were any discounts given, the discount percentage is recorded too. The entire source of transactional data is the point of sale.
Another name for analytical data is reporting data. One of the major activities that help businesses generate sales is marketing. Traditionally, marketers get into direct contact with customers, and they report the progress to the company. The use of technology boosts business efficiency, and this has been phenomenal in the company’s marketing departments.
Although it still happens today, marketers do not always go out the door-to-door marketing approach. They use technology to reach millions of customers fast. They may use videos, social media, blogs, marketing platforms, emails, or telephone calls. Other marketers organize webinars, they do training or promotions, but their goal is to make sales.
Every marketing activity requires money. On the other hand, the business must get a return on investment. To understand the differences between expenditure in marketing and return on investment, the accounting department generates a report that balances income and liabilities.
The marketing department also generates a report of its activities and successes. This way, the business management can weigh to see which marketing strategy is a liability and which one is beneficial. The process whereby data is collected, consolidated and processed to visualize progress is what is called reporting. Presentation of reporting is mostly done in the form of sheets, tables, charts, and graphs.
In the process of business growth, the business person needs to build and grow a clientele list. It helps them to set aside resources for sustaining the clients and gaining new customers. Some of the strategies the business person can use to retain customers are promotions, sales, discounts, and giveaways. They also use different types of strategies such as personalized email, telephone calls, social media posts, and videos.
A business person can build client lists in different ways. They may ask customers and visitors to provide their email addresses, telephone contact, or subscribe to email lists. During the process, companies collect information like customer names and other personal details.
Financial companies go further and collect photos, signatures, next of kin details, and income sources. The insurance and health sector collects health details of their customers, number of children, age, and so on. This information is stored securely in specific databases away from transactional and analytical data. This type of information is what is called master data. It includes suppliers’ information, business assets, products, applications, and all data that concern business operations.
All data generated from a business needs to be classified. Some data types are for internal use only, while others can be used externally. Every business produces two main sets of data – internally or externally generated. Each of these sets of data has unique uses and may have restricted access to a specific person or department. For example, accounting data should not be accessed by the front office staff.
Reference data can also be classified in terms of reference points. This can mean the different units in an organization or the various customer segments. It can be classified in terms of day-to-day business processes or data generated from assigned tasks.
In the payment systems, reference data can appear in terms of the types of currency that were used to pay. It may indicate the codes such as postal, country, language, state, or customer transaction codes. Both the internal and external processes of a business connect through various domains and applications.
Reference data is essential when managing data sources and business controls. This is the data that confirms if the business is sticking to the rules such as hierarchies, collaborations, data quality, and monitoring. It ensures accuracy, cost efficiency, and that all systems across the board are in sync.
Depending on the type of business, a company is segmented and stored according to the data type or use. Data that is used often does, it can generate megabytes of information to gigabytes, terabytes, or more. The data can be stored in RAM or Cache, while the rest can be stored in data lakes or other cloud storage solutions.
At one point or another, various departments may want to retrieve the data. Due to the data quantities involved, it can be hard to identify the specific chunk of data required or its location. For example, the customer service team may want to analyze data to test the levels of customer satisfaction.
The data available can be from emails, social media, or text messages. The team may not know exactly what kind of data to retrieve, although they may know the sources. This is the point where metadata comes in. It enhances data information to make it easier to retrieve. It may add references that help the team to use or manage the data. Metadata may cluster information in terms of file types, volume, quality, or purpose.