Knowing the Three Types of Data in a Startup

Data is all around us and if you’re working in a startup, there will be a wealth of responsibilities you will need to manage when it comes to your organisation’s data. The first step, however, is to start by trying to understand the different types of data that you may come across.

Only when you know what you have, will you be able to figure out how best to handle it. So, from the insights of our Senior Data Expert, Alaric Snell-Pym from Register Dynamics, let us explore the main types of data you will most likely come across within your startup:

The 3 Different Types of Data

The data that you will collect and work with can usually be broken down into three main categories:

1. Transactional Data

This is the foundation of your operations and overall business. It will include any orders being processed, stock levels, employment records, bank balances, work in progress and similar types of data. 

It’s important to note that this type of data is usually fast changing. Individual bits of data may not alter that frequently but as a whole, there can be a lot of change to deal with and when these happen, it requires almost immediate attention.

2. Analytical Data

These are historical records used for analysis. They’re usually formed by a log of transactional data outlining the data how it was or of the changes to it.

This type of data is incredibly important.  It gets studied carefully in order to help understand past behaviour and to identify patterns to help predict future behaviour. It can help us to gain a deeper understanding of our customers, their reaction to our products and more, and thus shape decisions around what we do next.

3. Reference Data

These are essentially ‘useful facts’ that are kept for people to refer to and to use when needed. They are usually imported in from an external source such as a supplier’s catalogue, or are agreed internally e.g. from product categories.

This type of data does not usually change often but when it does it tends to be on a schedule e.g. when a new catalogue is published, and it’ll need to be distributed across the organisation promptly.

Who’s job is it to manage this data?

Often at the beginning of a startup, the data responsibilities tend to fall upon the CTO i.e. the Chief Technology Officer.  If the startup has a CIO (Chief Information Officer), then they may take on this responsibility instead of the CTO. 

Some people believe that it is the Chief Data Officer (CDO), who should be responsible for all things data in an organisation i.e. the managing, storing, and governing of data across the organisation. However, many startups do not have a CDO, especially to begin with. A startup can often manage without one for quite a while, however, if you wait too long i.e. such that your user base is large and you have already become very successful in the market, then when you do hire a CDO, they will have a lot of research and technical debt clearance work to handle before they can start to be truly effective.

Others believe that it’s more effective to turn to CDO-as-a-Service i.e. to hire a specialist Data expert (and potentially a data team) to essentially help support and run your data function with you.  This is usually on an interim basis and can be a more flexible, cost-effective option for startups. There are not many companies offering this, however, Register Dynamics is one that specialises in it and could be a good place to start.

Whatever you decide, it is wise to make a plan for how you will handle your data and the growth of it, from day one. Getting the right support around this can be crucial to a startup’s success.

Startup Details

Startup Details


Register Dynamics

Register Dynamics is a data consultancy specialising in building business value through data. We support startups to take control of their data and to use it to drive innovation and gain a competitive edge.

Register Dynamics work with startups and fast-growing businesses, enhancing their business success through CDO-as-a-service - a personalised support system which enables startups to stay on top of their data needs and reap the benefits of an experienced Chief Data Officer without hiring one.

Register Dynamics also offers more traditional data consultancy across the following strategic areas: Data strategy, Digital transformation, Data governance and Building data maturity as well as in operational areas such as: Data management, Data cataloging and cleansing, Data standards, Technical assurance.

  • Headquarters Regions
  • Founded Date
  • Founders
    Andy Bennett and Simon Worthington
  • Operating Status
  • Number of Employees