Data. It's everywhere. With tons of different formats of data available, there's information floating around every corner of cyberspace. But what happens when you need to access that one individual piece of data specifically related to that high-priority project? And you can't find it. It's definitely in a database somewhere, but no matter where you look, that sneaky piece of data eludes your grasp.
Ever had that happen? It's not a great experience.
Traditionally slow to innovate, associations and other not-for-profit groups particularly struggle with this issue. They often store data in a variety of hard-to-locate places and lack effective data integration systems. There's member information in the Association Management Software (AMS), financial data in an accounting system, sensitive documents on a hard drive, and who-knows-what-else hanging out in a manila folder someone stashed in a cabinet under their desk that's been sitting there since the 80s.
What does that mean? Disorganization! Association professionals try to pull data they need ASAP and it's nowhere to be found. Inefficiency is high, and productivity is abysmal.
Now you've been meaning to consolidate all the data in one place, but you just haven't had the time. Stop that. No more excuses. You need data integration now. Why?
Data integration helps executives make sound business decisions. Effective business decisions depend on having access to up-to-date, specific information about all aspects of an organization, so that leaders can carefully evaluate their options and choose the best course of action. If your executives only have bits and pieces of the big picture, then your leadership team can't make informed decisions.
Aside from giving executives a complete picture of their organization's information, integrated data systems increase the intrinsic value of the data. When you have access to separate pieces of data in one place, you can create a uniform schema for a group of datasets, leverage external data, and combine data from different sources into one common structure.
A central location for your data just makes life easier. Based on the convenience alone, you can greatly increase your company's productivity and ease your colleagues' stress. In a data warehouse, you improve the organization and aggregation of data so that even the least tech-savvy person on your team can find the information they need when they need it.
As IBM's VP Global Labs Rob Morris once said, "Don't be a data hater, integrate your information." Data integration can simplify employees' lives and improve business processes. While Morris chose to use the financial sector as an example, data integration is useful regardless of what industry your organization operates. When you silo your information, it's incredibly difficult to find specific pieces of data when you need them.
Plenty of people take the start of a new year as a time to buckle-down and get organized. Why not do the same with your comapny's information? Put data-integration systems in place or outsource the creation of a data warehouse. Find a way to get your info in one place, and you'll never have to repeat that time when Bob's five-year-old son came into the office and accidently deleted a record in your email database that didn't exist anywhere else. Don't let that happen to you. Integrate your data now.