Definitive Guide to Data Monitoring

By Indeed Editorial Team

Published August 4, 2022

The Indeed Editorial Team comprises a diverse and talented team of writers, researchers and subject matter experts equipped with Indeed's data and insights to deliver useful tips to help guide your career journey.

Organizations can collect and use large amounts of data to help inform processes, including marketing, quality control and customer retention. Data monitoring programs support these goals by providing automated data collection, processing and analysis. If your employer is considering adding data monitoring to the organization, you may want to learn more about how data monitoring works and how it can help you.

In this article, we discuss what data monitoring is, why it's important, the benefits of data monitoring, how data monitoring works and best practices for data monitoring.

What is data monitoring?

Data monitoring is a strategy businesses use to oversee data quality and utility. The practice of data monitoring helps ensure that the data an organization gathers is complete, accurate and formatted correctly. Although people can manually monitor data, businesses often use software to perform ongoing data monitoring and provide alerts, analyses and reports. Data monitoring can also monitor conformity to industry or legal standards.

Read more: Data Analysis: Purpose and Techniques

Why is data monitoring important?

Data monitoring is important because it helps preserve data integrity and usefulness. By ensuring high-quality data, a business can avoid multiplying ongoing problems with future data interpretation and analysis. Examples of potential problems with data include duplicated or missing data points, vague or indistinguishable data, inconsistent data and data drift.

Data monitoring can help a business determine the source of data problems and identify solutions. Depending on how the organization uses its data, monitoring can help assure regulatory compliance, reduce costs or increase profitability, so regularly monitoring and correcting data deficiencies is essential.

What are the benefits of data monitoring?

Here are several benefits of implementing a data monitoring program:

Increase profits

Data monitoring can improve an organization's profitability by reducing data interpretation time. This is particularly true with automated data monitoring, which can help improve data processing time relative to manual methods. One example would be a sudden increase in customer orders of a particular product to a specific area of the country. The business could use this information to consider new advertisements or promotional packages for that item or to increase its production orders. If the organization uses machine learning, adding rapid feedback through high-quality data can help train the models over time.

Reduce problem response time

Catching errors in data as soon as possible and identifying the site of those errors can help the organization enhance its agility. With automation, an organization's data monitoring program immediately alerts it to data issues. The organization can then correct those data problems before they accumulate. Also, if the data monitoring program notes issues repeatedly associated with a specific source or type of data, the organization can monitor that data to reduce problems in the future.

Related: Methods of Data Collection (With Data Types and Examples)

Improve data usefulness

A business can make connections between different data sets with data monitoring software. For example, the software may identify a cause-and-effect relationship or positive or negative correlations. Data monitoring programs also allow data administrators to set parameters as data control standards and alert them if data occurs outside of those parameters.

Related: Learn About Being a Database Administrator

Standardize data

Data monitoring programs can often consistently record data. The program converts data from various sources or in multiple formats into standardized forms. Data monitoring programs can also clean data, such as mailing addresses, to ensure that the data is valuable. In this way, data gathered in one part of the organization can contribute to the overall data set for the entire organization.

Related: What Are the Primary Types of Data?

Improve customer satisfaction

Data monitoring programs can track key indicators of customer satisfaction. Metrics such as survey scores or wait times can help a business identify areas of success or places where improvement could enhance the customer experience. Also, data monitoring could help the organization chart trends over time, such as times with high helpline call volumes or increased website traffic. With this information, the business can plan to increase staffing or upgrade the website hosting.

How does data monitoring work?

Although people can perform data monitoring manually, organizations more commonly use data monitoring software. This software connects to dashboards, allowing the data administrator to review data and alerts and set quality parameters and key performance indicators. These parameters often reflect the organization's objectives.

The data monitoring software usually assesses incoming data continuously and checks that data against the organization's pre-set standards. Data administrators then typically review reports that the software produces. The data administrator can evaluate any reported errors and make any needed corrections.

Best practices for data monitoring

Here are some best practices to think about when selecting and managing a data monitoring program:

  • Ensure data flow: Data from all sources must reach your data monitoring program promptly. For example, if connectivity issues cause a delay in data arriving from a manufacturing location, this could delay orders for replacement parts.

  • Verify data is complete and accurate: A data monitoring program should check the validity of data it receives and address issues in data, such as duplications.

  • Analyze data for trends: Data monitoring software can often give reports about trends and relationships between different sets or types of data.

  • Predict potential issues: By noting trends or outliers, data monitoring programs can often alert data administrators to current or future problems. For example, the data monitoring program could identify a data source that causes frequent duplication errors.

  • Utilize alerts and dashboards: Data management software can alert data administrators to data issues when they occur via alerts or reports sent to its dashboard.

  • Ensure data access: It is a good idea to check that the collected data reaches the people and departments that can best use it. For example, data related to sales may most benefit the sales and marketing teams, while data about customer satisfaction may most benefit the customer relations and quality control teams.

  • Choose the right data monitoring tool: When selecting a data management program, look for software that meets your organization's needs. Generally, good quality data management programs can identify the source of data problems, provide ongoing and automatic monitoring and processing, work throughout different locations and levels of the organization and issue prompt alerts and reports.

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