The Washington Independent
The Washington Independent
How to keep data from being chaotic and overwhelming

How to keep data from being chaotic and overwhelming

06/11/2021 09:00
William Willis

Table of Contents

AutomateCreate protocolsKeep track of versionsOutsourceImprove data collectionDon’t float dataLook into machine learningPredicting demand

Data is everything these days. No matter what industry, or what specific niche you’re talking about, any progress is being driven by raw data. That being said, data can be scary as well.

Sometimes you’re working with massive data sets that can slow even the best team to a grinding halt. Because of that, it’s always a good idea to look for means of automating and filtering data. Here are a few options you might find handy!


One of the best ways to handle massive amounts of data is to automate as much of the processing as possible. There are many ways to do so, but Excel and similar software is arguably the most popular way of getting things done these days. Excel, Google Sheets, and other software of this nature allows you to use all kinds of formulae to process, filter, calculate all of your data points.

Sure, sitting down and creating dedicated spreadsheets for each type of data entry can be a daunting task. This is especially true for those who don’t have a lot of experience in spreadsheets. However, it’s something you’ll do once and use for a long time.

Create protocols

Data isn’t uniform. Whether you’re working with small data sets or massive ones, there will be a deviation. It’s a good idea to create protocols for all types of data that come your way. You should create a new protocol on how to handle a specific type of data every time you run into something that deviates from the regular data sets you’re used to.

Bonus points if you can automate this part of the job as well. Create spreadsheets that will take input data, but also allow you to modify the way said data is handled as you face new deviations in the data stream.

Keep track of versions

Many larger companies handle too much data for one person to handle. While multiple data analysts make the whole operation easier in terms of handling data, more people mean different ways of doing things. Because of that, you should make sure that every new version of a document or a spreadsheet is well documented.

If there ever is an issue with the system, one of its parts, or the data sets from the past, having those version logs can be a lifesaving piece of information. Also, it’s not difficult keeping track of versions as long as you set things up from the beginning.


Outsourcing your data handling needs is a viable option. Data analysts from note that many companies aren’t equipped to handle their data needs efficiently. In-house data crunching teams rarely get the equipment and funding they need to deliver optimal results. This is sometimes the case even in data-oriented niches, which is surprising, to say the least.

By outsourcing the entire data processing part of the job, you’re investing in your business. How? It’s simple — proven 3rd party data solutions companies have the necessary resources, know-how, and staff to take your data and produce results quickly. Quick turnaround times aren’t the only benefit here, either. You’re also guaranteed a certain level of quality as far as results go. Errors are reduced to a minimum, which may or may not be a decisive factor.

Improve data collection

Optimizing the processing stage of data handling is always a good call. However, you can do a lot by optimizing data collection to match your newly implemented system. In many cases, data collection is done by casting a wide net where you’re most likely collecting some data that you don’t really need.

By optimizing your data collection processes, you can save yourself a lot of time and effort later on when you get to data analysis.

Don’t float data

don't float data

Data that is processed should be stored or eliminated once it’s no longer of any use. It’s fine to retain reference points from older data sets, but it’s highly recommended that you avoid floating entire data packets while new data is streaming in. The only thing you’ll end up with is chaos, and chaos is bad in data processing.

Instead, devise effective means of storing old data where you can recall the items you’d potentially need in the future. There are various ways of storing data that make such random recall possible.

Look into machine learning

Alright, the last bit of advice we have to offer is to look into machine learning. Machine learning offers a peek into the future. That being said, different researchers are currently using machine learning to handle absorbent amounts of data. Such complex systems are used to process a wide range of scraping and other similar data processing tasks where most standard forms of automation simply don’t work.

Implementing machine learning into your data processing algorithm elevates things to a whole new level. It’s a sizeable investment, but one that could potentially make data processing a breeze, especially if you’re working with fairly uniform types of data. Future machine learning technologies, advanced AI, and other cool tech promises to completely automate data handling. Machines are simply more efficient than us humans.

Predicting demand

Actually handling data is usually not the most complex problem you can face as a company, or as an individual. It’s predicting the demand for data handling that can put you in a rough spot. Not knowing what kind of data bandwidth you’ll be dealing with in the near future can completely offset your plans. Being caught in the open with limited resources and an overwhelming amount of data is anything but fun.

Because of that, it’s worth looking into all of the items on this list. All the things mentioned above can help when that extra massive data set arrives unannounced. It’s a good idea to start by implementing the simple stuff, and then work your way towards implementing some of the more complex solutions on this list. Before you know it, you’ll have a robust data processing infrastructure in place, that will make handing any future data a breeze.

William Willis | William Willis is a freelance writer and social media manager who specializes in assisting finance professionals and Fintech entrepreneurs in growing their online audience and attracting more paying customers. William worked as a bank teller and virtual assistant for financial firms in the United States and the United Kingdom for six years before beginning her writing career. William is a strong force in the workplace, inspiring others to work hard and excel with her optimistic attitude and boundless energy. He enjoys hiking, crocheting, and playing video games with her grandchildren in her spare time.


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