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The amount of data held by businesses keeps growing and growing. With companies having stored years’ worth of computer-based data, SMEs are looking at more dynamic ways to store information.

The Cloud is the place to start, taking away the need for onsite servers and giving scalable hosting for data. In many ways though this is still an “empty space” – your data will still require organisation. Bad organisation can be an extreme time cost for SMEs. It’s been estimated that people can spend sixteen hours a week filing and searching for documents.* That’s over 34 days a year for just one person! But no matter how your data is stored there are things you can do to make finding data easier.

The key is to look at your data storage as a project with clear goals and tasks to perform. You will need a project leader who can manage the needs of the business and undertake the organisation planning. You will need to consult with your business on the most appropriate way to store files. For instance, is it easier to search by client name or task type? Today’s systems can provide you with lots of options for metadata within files, which should give you structure to your files beyond simply a type. Names are vital too and finding a rule for all files can also help save time. You’ll also need to be able to archive your data simply, so that you can easily find it again if you need to.

For more tips on how you can work smarter with your data, take a look at our free ebook here.

*’The hidden cost of information work’, IDC

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