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Chris Watkins, director of ffox Software, provides help and support to a small number of businesses in the field of automated workflow. Here he looks at the mobility of data and what it means for your business.
In my previous article, we discussed the need to store the mountains of data generated in the running of a business in a way that allows information to be accessed from any device and at any time.When a business stores customer details, sales history, materials lists and other data in the cloud it can be made available when decisions need to be made. No need to ask Joe or Mary for the latest figure, the figures are there… or are they?It’s one thing to store data in a mobile-friendly way, it’s quite another to grab that particular grain of information you need from the mountain of data available. In most situations where there is a ‘need to know’ that need is there in the moment. If it takes minutes to find the answer, the moment has passed and so has the opportunity.So, that elusive nugget of information needs to be made available in seconds, not minutes.Find by location vs. find by searchSystems of cataloguing and indexing have been around since the 14th century. What these systems do is deliver a framework for users to place information in a location, and record in an index detail of what that information is about and the location of where the full text of the information is stored.Computer file storage is no different. You store files and documents in folders that are named specifically to reflect the folder contents. So, an Invoice for Joe Bloggs Inc would be stored in Account > Invoices > Joe Bloggs IncUsing Google Docs or OneDrive live, both of which are free, allows a user to store files in specific locations. Every letter that is sent to a customer, every invoice that is generated, every outbound email, can be stored in locations created by the user just for the purpose of storage and later retrieval.The Google view
All of this has been achieved by smart use of an electronic filing system and has incurred no software costs.This example of the use of meta-data describes the additional information being embedded in the content of the document. The search functionality of both Google Docs and Microsoft Word Online is angled towards content search, so this is entirely appropriate.However, embedding meta-data in document content is only one of many ways in which meta-data can be used. A more detailed explanation can be found here.