How to Build a Data Profile

As one begins the process of how to build a data profile, it is important to first understand how such a system works. The system works like an onion, in that a user’s data, collected from one or more CRM applications or online activity, can be divided up into many “slaves” of data. This data is collected and stored in various locations throughout an enterprise, and each of these data profiles can be further subdivided into specific user roles.

How a data profile is set up and organised depends on the organisational context in which it will be used. For example, in an office environment, data must be easily accessible and edited by all employees. In addition, certain types of data, such as customer records or project data, should be protected from unauthorised use, in order to ensure that confidential data is not compromised and GDPR rules are not broken. A data architect will typically work with an IT manager, or a developer, to create an appropriate data architecture for a particular organisation. Then the data architect will work with a business data consultant to create data policies and procedures. Lastly, a system administrator will oversee the organisation’s implementation and maintain the system at all times, ensuring the organisation remains compliant with GDPR rules. This administrator will ensure that all employees have access to the data they need and that unauthorised users are blocked from accessing data they should not have access to.

Although building data profiles may sound like a daunting task, there are several solutions available for organisations. Most data professionals will begin their careers by focusing on an IT solution or system that can be developed in a few weeks. Occasionally, an IT department head will take control of the entire data profile process and will provide training sessions to help IT departments to learn how to build a data profile effectively. These systems and processes typically include a data warehouse, a business intelligence platform, and a data visualisation tool.

The primary goal of these systems is to provide businesses with an easy and efficient way to manage their data. Businesses interested in learning how to build a data profile should research the different options available and then select the solutions that best meet their data requirements. The data architecture should be developed based on a comprehensive business strategy.

The Challenges

GDPR, or general data protection regulation, is one of the largest challenges that businesses face. In May 2019, the first machine learning-related lawsuit was brought to our attention: a Hong Kong-based investor is currently suing a company for multi-million dollar losses incurred after choices made by an AI-based investment program (Plural Sight, Essential Tech). This goes to show it is not just human error, lack of care of misunderstandings- accidents happen, even when implementing the smartest technology. It’s extremely important to ensure the sources in which you are gathering your data are built around user security: with implementing a privacy policy, your site will become secure and you will build a GDPR compliant data profile.

How to Ensure GDPR Compliance

First-party authorisation is the first step you need to take when it comes to building a data profile. The first-party authorisation will provide the framework for how to collect the data from your website visitors. With the use of cookies, or even PHP cookies, you can track exactly which pages of your site visitors have visited in the past. Cookies can be integrated right into the HTML code of your site, so that the information they provide will be accurate. You will also be able to track how users navigate around your site and you can note what they focus on at any point. This information can then be used for targeted marketing campaigns. For instance, you can use a cookie to determine whether a user enters credit card information or whether they click on an ad.

There are two different cookies: first-party and third-party. A first-party cookie is one that the visitor to your site has already accepted. This ensures that any information provided by the user will only be used by that user’s browser. On the other hand, a third-party cookie is one that a user registers but does not intend to use on his/her own. The third-party cookies do not have to be recorded and are only used by the designated third-party websites. These cookies can be useful for tracking the browsing habits of a user, as well as ensuring that personal information is only sent to the sites in question when the user has given express permission for this information to be released.

Which Data Type does your Business Require?

The first step in the process begins with a thorough analysis of your company’s needs. First, you must determine which type of information you need the most. Gather some basic demographics, such as the city and state that your prospects are located. However, this information is very specific, and it would be difficult to collect if your company does not have a specialised system in place. Building a comprehensive profile will allow you to gather information from a broad range of areas.

Once you have determined the type of information needed, then build a custom profile system that will allow you to organise and group the data, based on both the category of people, or places, and the characteristics of each person. This will allow you to focus your resources on the areas of your business that will be most important to your clients. When this system is completed, it will store the information on your company’s secure server and will be accessible whenever you need it. Therefore, you can use the system to access previous client records, build a client database, or build a sales or customer database.

The Data Profile

Once you have compiled all the information that you will need, you can begin learning how to build a data profile. There are two primary methods that you can utilise in order to learn how to build a data profile. First, there is the manual method where you spend several hours sitting in front of your screen, manually inputting the information. However, this method can become tiresome, and it is not always accurate. While sitting still in front of your screen may seem like the best way to learn how to build a data profile, you may miss some important information that is necessary for your profile. The second option is for you to use software programs that automate much of the process.

While both methods are effective, many believe that the software programs are much more efficient, reliable and accurate. These programs are made to analyse how different people from different locations interact with one another and your brand. Therefore, they can gather the amount of data and then automatically collate it into a user-friendly report. In addition, the program allows the user to customise certain aspects of the report so that he or she can more easily understand how to build a data profile. In fact, many users do not even have to know how to construct a profile because the software will take care of all the steps.

Using your Data to Drive Growth

For the data you have collected to be useful, you must analyse it, identify patterns, and gain insights that can make business decisions. Without these steps, the data you have collected is pretty much worthless. This is the trickiest part, and the way data is being used is constantly developing, means businesses need to catch up. Luckily, there are mar-tech tools software available to help you. We have listed some popular techniques for analysing data below (Talend):

Structure discovery — Structure discovery (or analysis) helps determine whether your data is consistent and formatted correctly. It uses basic statistics to provide information about the validity of data.

Content discoveryContent discovery focuses on data quality. Data needs to be formatted, standardised, and properly integrated with existing data in a timely and efficient manner. For example, if a street address is incorrectly formatted, it could mean that certain customers can’t be reached or a delivery becomes misplaced.

Relationship discovery — Relationship discovery identifies connections between different data sets.

Final Thoughts

There’s a lot to consider for building a data profile; you must ensure that all of your platforms are built around GDPR compliancy rules, and the user’s security needs; your team should be knowledgeable on these rules, and your organisation should provide training before proceeding, otherwise, you could face some big fines! Using the available tools and software means you can generate more accurate and precise data, more quickly. Tools can also analyse your data, however, this analysis needs to be thoroughly understood if it is to offer any value to your business. Insights should be used to make business decisions and drive action, leading to improved metrics. The thorough analysis of your data should allow your organisation to focus and refine each step of the customer’s journey (Data Driven Marketing, Progress).

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Joe Allen

Joe has vast experience and knowledge accumulated and honed as a New Business Development Manager and Relationship Manager. Presently the Director at Belu Media.

Responsible for generating new business clients, looking after existing clients, sourcing new ventures and managing the company.

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