Data is your most valuable asset, no matter what business you operate. For non-profits, it’s no different. Your data is the backbone of everything you do: it’s the names and contact details of all your donors, it’s the statistics on your reports, it’s the details behind each employee. Without data, you cannot measure the effectiveness of your efforts and you cannot analyse and plot your way forward. It’s for this reason that data management is such a key exercise to ensure that your data is categorised and stored properly, and it’s also accessible when you need it.
This requires a data management strategy and a proper framework to be put in place for the benefit of all team members. It creates a compliance code for your data that can be carried throughout your business.
WHAT IS A DATA MANAGEMENT FRAMEWORK?
Data management is also referred to as data governance, and it’s basically the proper collection of data, as well as the storage, management and categorisation of it. Think of it as the governing body for your company’s data. It’s an archival system that is properly co-ordinated, a filing structure that has been thought out and planned. It details the people responsible and their roles and permissions, as well as the processes required to maintain the data management framework.
WHY SECURITY NEEDS TO BE A KEY INGREDIENT
The elements of an effective data management framework that make it work are strategy, security and execution. Without proper security measures in place, your data could be compromised, copied, moved, deleted or something equally as catastrophic. Remembering that your data is your most precious asset, it needs to be protected with the right security protocols and permissions should be carefully considered for all aspects.
GET THE STRUCTURE RIGHT
For a data management framework to be successfully implemented, the strategy needs to speak to the full lifecycle of the data, starting with inception. How does the data arrive in the business? How is it captured? How is it categorised? How is it stored? But that isn’t the end of the list of considerations. The data will not sit dormant forever and it will be accessed at various intervals to gather insights about a donor, perhaps to understand a certain business process. These are valuable elements of the lifecycle of the data, so how will it be treated upon each interaction is important to itemise. If the data isn’t collected properly, for example, the problems will stack up from here. These considerations need to be addressed when setting up the structure of your framework so that the necessary people have the right permissions and can access what they need without intervention from the IT team.
WHAT PLATFORM SHOULD YOU USE
Microsoft Office 365 comes equipped with a full data management framework that can be integrated with Exchange, SharePoint OneDrive for Business, Skype for Business, and Office 365 Groups.
BUILDING A PLATFORM THAT PROMOTES
Your data management framework strategy will encompass permissions as well as who is responsible for what data. This creates a space for individuals to champion their sectors and provide valuable knowledge sharing for other members of the team.
The system needs to have a level of trust around it too, whereby employees outside the IT department can take full responsibility for their sectors and ensure that they collect, store and manage their data in a way that adheres to the protocols and standards set up in the management framework. This opens up the opportunity for complete collaboration from the business with the underlying goal of data management being a key focus.
A properly implemented data management framework is just one more way that your non-profit business can streamline efforts toward reaching business goals.