Are you organizing data?
Data organization is one of the best ways to secure your information. It’s an integral part of your company since almost 1,300 data breaches happened in 2020.
However, you might find the task tedious with no prior experience. The good news is our guide can help.
Read on as we list some tips to optimize your data-driven organization efforts.
Collect and Store Your Data
When collecting the information, consider storing them in a single location. For example, you can put the data in an Excel worksheet. It becomes a vital part of your organizational efforts when you compile the data physically.
Name the spreadsheet “Raw Data” and leave it unmodified. It’s likely to have errors and other issues. Regardless, it’s a solid starting point as a digital copy.
Use the Raw Data spreadsheet to make other datasheets and organize. After all, it allows you to build a process flow and standardize the steps.
Copy the Raw Data for Cleaning
After making your Raw Data sheet, make a duplicate and rename it as “In Progress.” You’ll use this file to clean the data. The reason for doing this process is to avoid putting more errors in the original information.
Your progress spreadsheet will hold the data you desire to clean. Extract the information from your raw data, even if it’s a single column. Here, you can audit the data, correct the errors, and arrange them in a specific order.
After processing, you can now put the progress data into the final spreadsheet.
This process is Extract-Transform-Load (ETL). It’s a data organization technique to ensure you never put new mistakes into your data.
Make a Separate Spreadsheet for Data Calculations
Your worksheets will have data at various preparation stages. Moving to the next phase, make a copy of the final spreadsheet. After that, rename it into “Calculated Data.”
Some collected data need calculations, such as customer age. Usually, you can get it from their date of birth. As such, your calculated datasheet will serve as a place to make and add in new information.
Calculating specific information is only possible due to clean data. When you neglect the tip above, your processed info will contain errors. It decreases efficiency since it prompts you to clean then calculate again.
Understand Your Data Using Descriptive Statistics
Now you have three worksheets from a chronological data cleaning flow. It’s more efficient since you can check for errors and discover where you went wrong. This approach improves practices, whether collecting, cleaning, or processing data.
Integrating this process into your data organization workflow also reduces future errors. However, it becomes more vital when computing descriptive statistics on every data column.
When you first do this task, you’ll understand your data better. You’ll find errors you weren’t aware of in the first place.
Checking through your data using descriptive statistics allows you to discover the most obvious errors. For example, did you find zero or negative customer ages? Are the number of entries tallied?
When using Excel, consider learning the following formulas:
These are the most useful ones for numerical entries. Use COUNTIF when you need the number of entries for each category. Also, COUNTBLANK is handy when you want to discover blank entries.
All these processes allow you to trace errors until you reach the source. Maximize your organizational processes by investing in Data Lineage for Data Governance. Check the link for more information.
Keep a Codes Sheet
Are you using statistics applications? If so, it’s unlikely to accept text-based data. Consider storing your categorical data as integers instead.
However, when you adopt this technique, set a standard. It means associating an integer to a specific category. For example, a “Small” category can translate as the number 1.
These codes may be difficult to remember when you have thousands of categories. The good news is making and maintaining a codes sheet will relieve you of the burden.
This sheet is a blessing when you’re not the only person using the data. It ensures everyone using the spreadsheet will understand the information within. Aside from categorical codes, note the measurement units as well.
Keep a Notes Sheet
As you continue organizing data, you’ll make a lot of decisions. You’ll need to describe and explain them to others, whether they’re shareholders or people from other departments.
Maintaining a notes sheet enables you to document everything about your data. Keeping personal notes isn’t an issue until another employee requires information access. As such, put your notes on a separate worksheet.
Doing so ensures your notes will remain close to your data. It’s a blessing when you hand over your data to a statistician for processing. After all, you need not spend hours explaining everything.
Bonus: Report Data Errors
Erroneous data cost businesses trillions every year in the United States. Your business might be losing money from these mistakes. Whether you’re the owner or an employee, reporting errors is vital.
When extracting data from departmental databases, error reports can help a lot. Talk to the concerned department and help amend the mistakes. You’re being good to yourself and your fellow employees.
You need not worry about false data in the future once you fix the source. It allows you to become more productive since you need not waste time correcting data cleaned before. When everyone in the company practices the same, efficiency will soar through the roof.
Start Data Organization Now
These are some steps to ensure a smooth data organization process. Use them when organizing data worksheet across your business. It ensures consistency and avoids costly errors in the long run.
However, learning how to organize data is only the beginning. When you have no time to develop best practices, consider outsourcing data science organizations. It allows you to get better without the requisite time.
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