Multiple data sources: cleaning up the mess

DCA details recent experience with a high-profile international family entertainment and media enterprise.

A common complaint about data is that there is too much of it, coming from too many sources. Evidence from our conversations with clients, as well as industry research and event attendance, shows that companies are struggling simply to cope with the volume of data, let alone use the information it contains.

Data can and does come from many sources, both online and off: transactional, email, website, social, club membership, partner organisations, lists, competitions and more. This information can be kept in many places and forms – spreadsheets, CRM, marketing and accounting systems to name a few – and is often contained in discreet silos unlinked to other sources.

Before data can be consolidated and migrated into one database, a lot of scoping work is needed to determine the data and format required, where the data is from and is going, any appends or flagging required and much more. This preliminary work allows the creation and application of business rules and custom algorithms, ensuring the data is suitable for the intended tasks and that the process can be easily and quickly repeated in the future. Extensive data management experience and insight are necessary for this step as it determines the format, content and structure of the completed job, and hence the suitability of the database for its intended purpose.

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