Feel like you’re drowning in data? It’s because you are.
Businesses are accumulating data at unfathomable rates, and even though the data doesn’t take up any physical space, it still must be sorted, stored, organized, and maintained. Finding a way to eliminate bottlenecks, friction, and data entry can seem impossible.
Fortunately, a few industries have anticipated the deluge of data so you can keep your company moving forward. They’re helping firms control capital costs through outsourcing — making their partners leaner, more competitive, and (potentially) more attractive to investors.
In other words, they’re your life jackets; the sooner you put them on, the better you’ll feel about the journey ahead.
Organize Data Without Falling Overboard
The right data partners keep everything in sync, enabling companies to align data. This task is notoriously difficult; most organizations use different types of files and systems. Getting them all to work together is harder than having a meaningful conversation with a mobile device-wielding teen. Some companies may use three online platforms that speak three different languages, which, as you can probably imagine, can make running reports far more challenging than it needs to be.
Other companies have similar issues like running proprietary files. Without specialized software, those files cannot be accessed by anyone outside the company. If the company works with third parties, it’s forced to either switch file types or pay for software. This process can be costly, complicated, and inefficient.
Then we have scenarios of data just being troublesome. For example, one of our law enforcement clients tried to send suspect interview videos from an urgent case. Our contacts needed expedited transcriptions, but their videos were too large to be transferred online, and their firewall kept blocking the uploading process. They had to ship the files to us overnight, spending more than $120 and costing them — and us — a full day. Situations like those are stressful all around.
Outsourcing is a tried-and-true life raft when it comes to surviving the tidal wave of data explosion, and it will help you regain your sanity.
Industries Weathering the Storm
Plenty of industries have emerged as leaders thanks to the plethora of data-driven needs in today’s business world. Here are four:
1. Data storage providers: Data storage companies are exploding, and more companies that specialize in niche markets are entering the data storage scene every day. The data storage industry is worth tons — organizations with greater than 1,000 employees plan to spend more than $3 million on cloud computing. That figure is only going to increase.
2. Transcription service providers: Another type of company that’s doing well is transcription services. Everything needs to be indexed by Google for it to be seen, so transcriptions of podcasts, YouTube videos, interviews, audio files, and other non-editable documents need to be placed into editable formats.
3. Tech component sellers and manufacturers: Tech companies that build and sell servers, routers, switches, and more are booming. The server market was close to $15 billion in 2016; we can only guess what it will grow to in the coming years.
4. Security companies: A wealth of data requires security. With cybercrime expected to cost companies $6 trillion in the next five years, everyone is looking for a satisfactory solution.
Finding the Right Port in the Storm
Businesses in these industries are doing their part to help businesses sort, store, organize, and maintain their data. But no matter what your data requirements are, you need to be cautious, reflective, and smart when choosing partners to solve your biggest issues so your team can move on to the next project. Here are a few steps you can take to vet potential partners:
· Check their references. Do they have positive, verifiable online reviews from sites like Google or Yelp? Rating systems have been a game changer; use them to your advantage before picking up the phone or sending an email.
· Get upfront pricing. Runaway costs will sink you in the short term and long term. If a prospective data storage provider can’t give you a firm cost, you know you can move on. That’s not what you want to hear when shopping for something that’s supposed to be built to your specifications.
· Make sure you don’t have to change your business. You shouldn’t have to change your business to make a data solution work. For example, you need to store .wav files, but a potential third-party partner only stores MP3 files. Why should you have to convert all your files, adding steps to your process? Your partner’s system should benefit you, not the other way around.
· See if your competition uses them. As part of your research, check out the competition. Do all your competitors utilize a particular third-party provider of data services? If so, find out why.
· Check your competition’s customer service department. Who answers the phone? A robot or a person? How do the personnel treat you? We’ve all dealt with rude representatives. When companies make statements like “We usually deal with clients much larger than yours,” it’s time to look elsewhere.
When your company finds itself drowning in data, fight the tide. Look for third-party organizations that are helping businesses like yours connect data across platforms. Turn data into a trickling stream you can wade across, not a raging river threatening to flood its banks.