Excel is a helpful tool for almost every business, but spreadsheets can quickly become unwieldy if you store a large amount of data. To improve the readability and accessibility of your spreadsheets, one thing you can do is to normalize the data. Here are seven reasons you should standardize the formatting of your data today.
1. Data Is Easier To Read
When your formatting is consistent, it is easier for your employees and clients to review spreadsheets quickly and efficiently. Even simple data standardization can improve the readability and usefulness of your spreadsheet, for example, if you ensure that all names are correctly capitalized and all addresses are updated to include complete details.
2, Data Is More Accessible
When you normalize your data, programs and systems will be able to better access key details. If you use an auto-dialing system, having your phone numbers formatted will ensure that everyone on your list can be contacted smoothly. Normalized data will also make mail merges and other marketing outreach more professional and personal. If you update all client names to be in the correct format, you will be able to address any outreach to each individual’s preferred name. Personalized outreach like this can help ensure your company appears reliable and professional, allowing you to build a positive reputation and relationship with each of your clients.
3. Remove Duplicate Details
You will be able to identify duplicated information more quickly and efficiently when you normalize your data. You can delete extraneous details and merge essential information so that your employees have all pertinent information in one easy-to-find location. Cleaning up duplicate data can prevent your team from contacting someone multiple times, decreasing the likelihood your promotional material will be marked as spam or ignored by a prospective client or customer. Duplicate data can also increase your storage costs depending on the platforms you use, so normalizing your data may even save your company money!
4. Identify Redundant Data
When you can quickly review your data, you can be more critical about the fields you use and the data you keep. Normalizing your data will allow you to identify areas with redundant information; for example, if multiple fields hold the same or similar information, you can merge them into a single column to avoid confusing readers, reduce your file size, and even limit your storage costs. You will also be able to conveniently analyze aggregated data, allowing you to understand your customers better as a whole and as individuals.
5. Protect Client Information
Normalizing your data can help you guarantee that the right people have access to the right information. If you are storing addresses or other personally identifiable information (PII) data, it is very likely that not every employee will need to have access to these details. Suppose you can ensure that only the people who truly need access to this information can do so. In that case, you can significantly reduce the chances that someone will utilize client data inappropriately. Protecting this data will also help your clients feel more confident and see your company as more trustworthy, allowing you to build a positive reputation and gain new clients through word-of-mouth promotion.
6. Improve Performance of Integrated Apps
You can ensure that all third-party apps and integrations work seamlessly when you use normalized data. Apps often have different data formatting specifications, and even minor inconsistencies can cause third-party integrations to slow down dramatically or even break. This can prevent your employees and clients from accessing important details and tools until you manually review and fix these errors.
7. Appropriately Segment Marketing
When reaching out to clients, you must gear your message toward them in a manner that makes sense. You would send different information and product suggestions to a marketing team, for example, than you would to a customer service manager or the company CEO because they would each have different concerns and needs. Formatting your data will ensure that you get the correct information to the right people every time.
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