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How to Create a Data Inventory – 5 Steps

Introduction to the data inventory

Not only do businesses collect large amounts of data on a daily basis, they also have to access many separate data sources. This task alone makes it difficult to define and memorize the origins of each data point. By purchasing an inventory software for small business, businesses can track their inventory sources to streamline data collection and analysis.

What is the data inventory?

The Data Inventory, also known as the Data Card, is a source of information that details all of the business information. The purpose of the data inventory is to establish a centralized database that employees can access for quick reference. An adequate data inventory details not only the collection of information, but also the location and analysis of storage.

Understanding data management allows employees to stay on the same page and work towards business goals. In turn, this leads to increased operational efficiency, productivity and decision-making. By properly using the data inventory, companies can optimize reporting, knowledge development, and departmental initiatives.

5 steps to create a data inventory

Creating a complete data inventory takes time and practice. There are five comprehensive steps companies can start by taking them.

Establish a supervisory authority

First, companies must establish a supervisory authority, as they will have to collect information from various ministries. This involves determining the project manager who will orchestrate the data collection. Some companies use a surveillance specialist to take advantage of data policies and collect big data.

Depending on the internal and external sources to which a company must have access, it must also examine the data policies of its industry. By establishing a supervisory authority, managers can gain visibility into the data flow without governance issues. However, it is wise to recruit supervisors from each department to avoid any technical problems.

Next, the inventory software for small business team needs to work together and establish the scope, timelines, resources, and other guidelines for their project. Scope refers to the type and amount of data the team must collect to complete their inventory. As the scope can sometimes be difficult to define, managers should consider the essential elements.

Stock requirements listed in data strategies

Internal data versus external data

All data resources

Priority-specific or temporal information

Individual ministerial data

Required metadata


Key performance indicators (KPIs)


The supervisor of each department is responsible for defining and cataloging the data within their sector. This saves more time than if a manager has collected all of the company information. After considering the information from each department, the single project team compiles all the data into a single inventory. The most organized way to get inventory data is to use management solutions that structure the information in a readable format. Otherwise, owners only have access to large volumes of raw data.

Complete quality checks

After cleaning and organizing the data, the team should perform quality checks. This includes eliminating duplicate, incomplete and inconsistent information, and improving the quality of data sets. When the databases are to the manager’s taste, they can be deployed so that the rest of the employees can see them.


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