More than ever, business sustainability and continuity is totally dependent on the availability of, and the ability to share, data – and I don’t just mean data from your accounting software. To be competitive, you need to optimise all your data systems so you can offer the best customer service possible and make your business stand out.
Use integrated systems to make quicker decisions
- Financial software applications enable your business to transact and generate management information that informs your decision making.
- Integrating your banking transactions without having to manually process these transactions influences productivity and eliminates processing errors.
- Accessing information on a mobile device from any location enhances your ability to make better and faster decisions, and therefore provide better service.
- Using a CRM system, a digital marketing service or a service desk gives you data visibility across multiple platforms – for example the visibility of customer account details and service history in the CRM database – that can differentiate your company’s service levels from that of competitors.
- Using a central portal to display all intercompany communications and link relevant information to affected clients and or suppliers is a sure way to up your customer service game.
- Backing up your business data in an encrypted and protected offsite environment gives you an obvious advantage. How secure is your company’s data backup?
Consistent and affordable broadband connectivity and continually enhanced software solutions enable all of the above integrated systems. But there are other data trends that you’ll also need to consider:
Data security + data privacy
- Data security has become a critical element of business sustainability. Traditional anti-virus/malware solutions are no longer effective because they tend to detect threats when they’ve already entered the system. Your business needs a complete cybersecurity solution that’s able to detect threats such as ransomware and ID theft.
- Data security and privacy will become part of today’s business currency – customers, trading partners, service providers and employees will demand proof of a company’s ability to secure personal information and protect sensitive data from being compromised.
- The forthcoming PoPI (protection of personal information) Act will emphasise and regulate data privacy and data security aspects.
It’ll become essential for businesses to ensure that ALL its employees understand the sensitivity and value of personal information and the need to protect the confidentiality of this data.
- Implementing corporate governance will become a major trend over the next 12 to 18 months. Corporate governance refers to how a business is managed and the systems it uses to show accountability, especially in terms of data security. Events of the past year, for example the Facebook–Cambridge Analytica data breach and misuse, have highlighted the sensitive nature of data, the implications of misuse of data and the need to protect and secure data sources. Do you know how much of your personal data is held by companies you deal with? Do you know how secure the data is?
- It’s imperative for businesses to ensure all their data sources are properly mapped and de-duplicated so that it’s simple to secure, protect and access the data when required. Many businesses hold data in multiple electronic databases, each with unsecured data backups, and worse still, in forgotten places.
Modern-day life involves balancing the “always on” instant gratification data-rich world – which (some say!) enhances the quality of life – with the need to retain privacy where it matters.
In the commercial world this translates to optimising and integrating all data sources to enable total visibility across an organisation. This naturally results in enhanced efficiency, productivity and customer service. However, this easy access to data must be balanced with the need to comply with legislation, ensure good governance and, most importantly, guard the privacy of individuals’ personal data.