By Tamara Williams, Content Marketing Manager, twilliams@bostrom.com

Data is a natural part of our business objectives, from social media and web tracking to sales and email automation campaigns; we use data to support our marketing efforts and organizational goals. Armed with this information, organizations can analyze current procedures, generate targeted campaigns, manage staff and volunteers, gather reports and comply with regulatory requirements.

Collecting all of that data can be exciting and overwhelming at the same time. You may be asking yourself, “where do I begin and what data should I consider?” There are several new analytical tools that can make the process of gathering business intelligence less time-consuming, whether you’re preparing your budget forecast for the upcoming year, assessing marketing data that will help spice up your content, reviewing predictive analytical models or gathering global intel for organizational expansion.

Over the past few years, we have seen a shift in modern data management and analytical tools that were once only available to the commercial sector now make its way to the association sector. With these tools on hand, we can now execute a data management plan with ease.

The first step is extracting the data.

There are tools, such as FiveTran and Alooma, which are solely designed to connect with countless cloud-based data sources – extracting data in real-time, mapping the data and storing it.

Once you have selected your extraction tool of choice, you must find an option to house the data in the cloud for easy access.

Find your home with these tools – Amazon Redshift or Snowflake can handle the job and there are many others out there that may be a fit for your organization. Now the exciting part – finding the answers to your data questions that you can share with your stakeholders.

Lay the foundation for providing the structure by using data mining methods to analyze data, determine patterns, and recommend models that will enhance operational procedures.

Finalize the process with tools like Periscope Data or Tableau. There are countless other tools that can address your organization needs.

These systems are adaptable, easily integrated and able to scale data across analytical models.

In this age of cyber-attacks and data breaches, organizations should be vigilant and take ownership of how their data is being used. Monitor data usage and the sharing of data with third parties in order to safeguard personal information in accordance with legal measures that are already in place – proactively avoiding cybersecurity violations of disclosure or identity theft.

Analytical tools can be a valuable asset that can take your organization to the next level when used responsibly. Remember there should be a strategic element to this process of collecting data to move your organization forward and not simply collecting the data for the sake of having it. With these modern tools, your organization can take a fresh approach to collecting, managing, and storing data seamlessly.