When you’re buried under virtual or physical piles of PDFs, paper documents, or out-dated storage tools (CD-Rom, or–gasp!–floppy disks), coalescing your information into one indexable format is a daunting task. Data modeling is the first step to making sense of every record, no matter its age or storage method.

No business leader we know has extra time for data conversion, indexing, storage, and security. Per human nature, incomplete data conversion and archiving tend to build up over time, because they’re no one’s favorite tasks. 

Instead of procrastinating this crucial element of business success and customer privacy, partner with the pros at River City Data. We’ll customize a data conversion, indexing, and storage strategy that grows with your company so that data privacy and organization is never a problem again.

Call us today for a free quote, and we’ll handle all your records with the care and security they deserve.

hanging folders and files in a filing cabinet with an employee's hands sorting files

Data Modeling: Code for “How’re We Going to Find Anything Ever Again?”

Imagine you spend thousands of dollars and hundreds of person-hours organizing your data. You’ve purchased filing cabinets, folders, colored tabs, and every kind of “sticky-note” under the sun. 

By the time you’re finished with your files, they look neat and tidy, years of business contacts can now be accessed quickly, the file drawers all close tightly, you can lock the files for security, and you’re about to pat yourself on the back.

However, you forgot to tell anyone that you used your clients’ birthdays to categorize them in the files. Then, you hire in a new office manager, and they assume you’ve used the customer’s last name as a primary data indexing tool. 

So, now your new manager cannot find any information on your clients, plus, she uses her last-name assumption for all future data filing. You’ve got a massive potential data mess on your hands in this scenario.

The one thing you must do to combat this data disaster is data modeling.

Create a Rubric that Serves You Now and in the Future

Of course, today, we’re done with paper documents and tabbed manila folders in most organizations. Data modeling refers to digital data indexing, storage, and interaction. 

Your data model can also inform the type of physical space and components you use for data storage and reporting as well, some of which may still be the odd filing cabinet. But, most companies seek out ways to condense and archive their data while still enabling easy reporting and analytics.

It’s essential to think out into the future as much as possible concerning storing and indexing data. Try revisiting your business plan. (If you don’t have a current one, now’s a perfect time to create it.) Look at your growth and sales goals for the next five years or so. 

Your data model should reflect where you want to BE in five years, as much as it should serve your needs where you ARE. Why plan to keep purchasing more and more physical file cabinets when you can obtain more secure and nimble data storage in the cloud right now, for example?

stacks of files, folders, documents used for data modeling

Three Types of Data Models

For a successful data model, there are three essential steps in the process:

 

    1. Conceptual data model: Here, you define entities that deliver or collect data, like customers and products. Then, you list the attributes of each entity, such as name (customer or product), customer number, and product price. Finally, you determine and describe the relationship between the entities.
      Conceptual data models are intentionally high-level.

      Think of this step as building the foundation for data collection and organization–a statement of which information is most crucial to your business model. This step creates a common data language and priority list for all stakeholders, company-wide.
    2. Logical data model: In this phase, you’ll specify data structure and the relationship between data bits. For example, you’ll define how data from one project may interact with information from another source within the company.
      You’ll answer questions like “how will I integrate and utilize information across several departments or teams?” And, you’ll put values and nomenclature to those data bits.
      At this stage, you’re still thinking in general terms–defining data relationships within your operation and how you want them to interact.
    3. Physical data model: Here’s where you’ll get more precise about triggers, keys, views, indexes, authorization, database columns, as well as the technology you’ll use to access and store your data. (Will you use the cloud or a physical server location?)

 

Achieve Consensus, and Then Train, Train, Train.

Once you (and your leadership team, if applicable) have landed on a data modeling strategy that fits your needs now and can easily grow with your expanding audience, product lists, and physical footprint, it’s time to educate.

Any data model is only as effective as the people who know how to use it. Adding data collection and use training to your on-boarding process is crucial. This staff education is the only way to ensure your data works for YOU once you’ve implemented your data modeling strategy.

Departments can become entrenched in the dreaded “silo” when they don’t have access to the same information. Without the judicious use and sharing of the data you collect in sales, product performance, customer needs, client outcomes, and more, your entire operation suffers.

When your entire company speaks the same data language, you can access and use your key information to drive marketing, product development, and service delivery.

employee at a computer with data modeling and documents

Partner with the Pros for Data Modeling that Works

Once you’ve determined your conceptual, logical, and physical data models, River City Data can help you implement your strategy the right way.

Our conversion, indexing, and storage methodologies help you accurately index your records with OCR (Optical Character Recognition) software, save physical space, decrease staffing costs, and ensure the highest level of security and privacy. Plus, we enable on-demand access to all your data, so you never miss a needed metric.

Contact us today for a free quote, and start taming your rogue data piles with the most reliable, professional team in the business.

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