When a company first starts up, early employees work long and furious hours getting the business going. Data and documents are easily tracked and shared between departments and stakeholders, if for no other reason than because the other so-called department is the person sitting next to you.
As companies grow, however, data becomes more critical to a larger number of people. Information can get fractured and data integrity can be compromised. Collaboration amongst many people becomes important, and having a single document or localized data can cause delays and bottlenecks.
There is a tipping point when centralization of data means accelerating your business outcomes or spending more time on internal operations than you do on the business of your business. The question is: How do you know when you’ve reached that tipping point?
What is Centralization?
Centralization of data, assets, and documents can most easily be described as a single place for information to be stored so that it can easily be accessed by multiple people in the organization.
The benefits of centralization are numerous. These are just a few:
- Information integrity: Centralization of information creates a single source for data, content, and assets. This creates a system of records and a source of truth for important information
- Access: Whether you have employees in multiple offices, remote employees, or team members who frequently travel, a centralized system can provide access to important documents and data no matter where they are
- Security: Securing company information is top of mind for organizations of any size. A centralized system permits access control to occur in a single location, increasing security and operational efficiency
- Removes bottlenecks: Centralized data and assets mean multiple stakeholders have access to information at the same time. No waiting around for a file to be emailed from one team member to another
Knowing When to Move to Data Centralization
Centralization may sound great, but in truth, it makes more sense for some companies than it does for others. How do you know if it’s the right time for data centralization for your organization?
Do you have groups that need access to data or assets for different reasons?
If multiple departments or individuals need access to documents, files, or data for different purposes, it’s probably time to move to a centralization strategy. You’ll want each of these groups to have access to the most current and most accurate information for their business needs.
Do you have teams that travel frequently?
There is nothing more frustrating for a salesperson – or a sales prospect – than having to wait for someone else to email them a document. If your sales, account, or delivery teams have a need for self-service access to a number of assets, having that information centrally located increases efficiency.
Do you have multiple locations or remote workers?
If you have people located across the country or the world, whether in multiple offices or with a distributed workforce, centralized data and assets allows team members to get the information they need from anywhere.
Do multiple stakeholders need access to data in a timely manner?
If multiple team members or leaders need access to information – say, the company’s annual budget, marketing materials, or documentation – asking them to wait for someone to share it with them slows down the pace of business.
Do you have audit or security requirements around some assets?
If you have information that needs careful access controls, or are subject to audits, having the data and access centrally located speeds monitoring and management of permissions and access.
Asset centralization isn’t necessary for every company. Yet for companies with specific needs, centralization can accelerate business outcomes, improve operations, and create efficiencies around security and compliance.
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