No one can work in silos.
That’s why sharing data is critical to a business. It lets people act based on the information they receive.
Each piece of information in your business has people and purposes to serve. And for your data to serve its right purpose, you can share data with: people within your organization and people outside. And so there are two ways in which you need to share business information: with people within your organization, and people outside.
Sharing within your business is often interdepartmental and on a need-to-know basis. For example, the business owner shares information with managers, who is turn share it with subordinates, team leaders with team members, etc.
In case of sharing data with external stake holders, think of the owner sharing the information with customers or partners, or managers sharing with dealers and freelance hires, etc.
What type of data you share depends on whether it’s internal or external sharing.
Some examples of internal sharing:
- If you run a service business or a journalistic practice, you may have employees on the field all the time. They will report back to the central office, sharing links, photographs, voice and video recordings they’ve gathered.
- Though functioning as separate departments, the sales and marketing teams of a business share assets like collateral, documents, presentations, customer life cycle information, contact information, etc.
- If you run a retail business or have a manufacturing unit, you may share details of your inventory with your packaging and delivery teams so that they’re aware of the current status of stock.
In all these scenarios the origin and the destination of the information are limited to those involved in the business.
In external sharing, however, you share with people who are not directly involved in your business. Although they participate in your business, your everyday processes don’t depend on them.
Here are some examples of sharing data externally:
- Sharing inventory details with the suppliers of your raw material. This information can help them know when you need a refill.
- Sharing knowledge and business assets like product catalogues, explainer documents, and brochures with external analysts and market researchers. If you run a product- or service-based company, you might need share such information about your business with third-party stakeholders as a way to extend your reach.
- Sharing your database of resources with customers. If you offer healthcare services, for example, you can offer potential customers personalized recommendations.
- If you manage a nonprofit organization, you may share the status of your fundraisers with donors.
How do you go about sharing?
There are many ways a business can share its information. While some methods are time-tested and proven, some of them are new and upcoming.
- Third-party app or software. This refers to the process of extracting information from your central database system and duplicating it before sharing. Spreadsheets like MS Excel and Google Sheets fall under this category. Though online spreadsheets are more collaborative than offline ones, data redundancy is still an issue.
- Application Programming Interfaces (APIs). Some businesses integrate sharing capability into their existing system. They either program it using an API or adopt an enterprise knowledge sharing management system.
- Print outs like brochures and leaflets. While a long-standing and often effective way to distribute information, physical copies of data can compromise data security.
- Personal communication tools. Telephone calls, messaging services, and face-to-face interactions are common when offering personal recommendations, as with healthcare practice.
Before you share anything in any way, consider the following questions. The answers will dictate how you share business data.
- What are you sharing? Storing of and sharing information about customers, students, and medical records often require compliance. Stock and inventory details, on the other hand, don’t.
- Who are you sharing it with? Determine the roles and designations of those who will access the data you share. Make sure the right person sees the right information. Think about what the managers see and what the subordinates see.
- How much are you sharing? Data is the lifeblood of your business, so it’s important to restrict access when necessary. You don’t want everyone meddling with your data. Consider using permissions around the ability to modify, access, and consume information.
Sharing in Zoho Creator
It’s seamless. Every app you build or install on Zoho Creator uses a unified database. This eliminates the need to integrate data between your departments. Without APIs and other programming methods, your departments can share information between each other using a point-and-click user interface. You can add users to your application, choose their permissions, and share right away.
Since all business data reside in a single database, you can also share information with external stakeholders without duplicating your data. Zoho Creator offers self-serve portals where your customers, partners, and vendors can log in and access the information they added or you shared with them.