The topic of data is top-of-mind for the public right now, after revelations recently came to light concerning Facebook and how it uses people’s information. Data is hugely important for everyone these days – whether they realize it or not – and the role of privacy and proper use of that data is paramount.

The Facebook fiasco shows how modern data management is, in many ways, uncharted territory for human beings. Never in our history have we had so much data that needs to be managed. Often, we know we have to manage our data, but we don’t know exactly how or what works best for us. Figuring that out for ourselves is a discovery process that’s different for everyone.

I spend each day talking to people about the importance of data. I make a living by being an authority on the topic of business management systems. I think I have a pretty good idea of what people’s needs are with regard to data management, but no one can know everything. Every day my clients learn from me, and I learn from them.

Often, clients will gain deep insight into their data needs only when they’ve been using our software for at least a year. It takes time, figuring out how to manage data adequately for your business. It’s a fascinating process that involves some trial and error, but in the end, my clients learn a lot, and so do I.

I’ve been working on a little project as of late. I want to find out more about this discovery/learning process and how it works, in an attempt to formalize it a little and provide people with a roadmap as to what they can expect when they embark on the path of data management. Specifically, I want to gain some insight into the following questions regarding this discovery process:

  • What sort of “stages” do people go through when they use a new data management system?
  • What sort of roadblocks do they encounter and how can they tackle those roadblocks?
  • When they find something that works or they didn’t know they need, how do they preserve it and pass that knowledge onto others?
  • Have they ever had new functionality built into their software for them? If so, how did they work with their software provider to do so?

I want to hear from you about your experiences in this regard. Please email or tweet me any input you might have! Over the next couple of weeks, I will describe some of my own experiences in an effort to begin shedding some light on a process we’re just beginning to work out as a society when it comes to managing our data.

I look forward to you insights and stay tuned!

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