How Important Is Your Business Data?
By Kevin McDonald, Business Advice Consultant at Sage
An easily answered question right? You’re mostly likely thinking YES, of course it is business critical to me.
Before I go into tips let me give you a typical scenario of why it is critical for any business, especially a small business, to have a data management strategy.
You are the owner of a small business. You arrive into work on a Monday morning. Your accounts and payroll administrators advise you that they cannot access the accounts or payroll packages.
You soon discover that your server crashed over the weekend. After a call to your IT Department you realise you have no previous backups as the staff were never trained how to take a backup and you were not aware of how to do it either. So you have a few days work ahead of you either sending the data to be fixed or rolling back to your last “clean” point.
Bear in mind while all this is going on your customers are calling you looking for orders which you can’t give them because your accounts package is out of action, the accounts administrator cannot create purchase orders so your cannot order stock, the payroll administrator is asking you when the payroll package will be ready to go again as your staff need to be paid and you don’t have IT support so you are looking into getting someone out on site to look at your network.
In my experience as data repair analyst for the Sage Accounts team it was clear to me that data integrity and data maintenance is not at the forefront of SME businesses using software that utilizes a database.
Unfortunately in the majority of cases I have dealt with over the years, it takes an occurrence of some serious database issues such as database corruption to bring to light how important your accounts or payroll databases are and how damaging it can be to your businesses revenue stream when things go wrong.
Let me give you some tips that hopefully will help you avoid going through a scenario like the above in the future. These tips are given based on my past experiences with SME’s.
- Get I.T Support. Your PCs and Network are critical. If they stop working – your business stops working. Research and look into either an in house IT technician for the larger companies or outsourced IT that you can contact straight away should a network issue issue occur.
- Speak with the support provider of your business software. Find out if your network is up to specification to run the packages you have. Also find out how to take a backup and how to keep your data safe.
- Train your staff in how to take a backup and check your business software such as accounts and payroll. You do not need to be a product expert or even a user of the package to know how to do this. It should be common knowledge across the business. Make sure the responsibility to back up the data lies with more than one employee. What happens if they are on annual leave or off sick? Who is responsible to back up your data then?
- Report issues to the support team of your business software. If your software is hanging or crashing then talk to someone about it. It could be something small but worse yet it could be something serious.
It is a gamble not to have a data management strategy. Are you willing to take the risk? For anyone looking for further advice on this please feel free to leave a comment on this blog and I will get back to you.
If you need to contact Sage Customer Support see our support telephone numbers here.