Data cleansing – inside the database or on your desktop?

save-time-reduce-errors-increase-securityWe’ve been gathering feedback from some of our service provider clients recently about the impact on them of change: there’s a lot of things that they mentioned to us: organisational change and new demands due to new customers come up as often as they always have done, but what about enforced change from outside the organisation?

Two aspects that clients frequently mentioned are the new EU General Data Protection Regulations (GDPR) and the competitive need to keep up with advances in technology.  That’s why we were particularly pleased to get some great feedback from one of our clients who recently switched from a desktop data cleansing/mailing package to matchIT SQL.  They wanted to switch to matchIT SQL because they already use Microsoft SQL Server for all storage and manipulation of their customer data, and saw a lot of potential for increased automation with matchIT SQL – leveraging their familiarity with SQL Server Integration Services (SSIS) and Stored Procedures to achieve this.  However, the benefits they gained were far more fundamental and far-reaching than they envisaged…

Reducing the potential for errors

Having to export data from one system and import it into another (perhaps multiple times) introduces opportunity for mistakes: keeping record layouts in line, splitting and combining files etc.  By processing data in one system instead of several, the potential for these kinds of mistakes is eliminated and the corresponding time taken for Q/A (and sometimes repetition of steps) is greatly reduced.  Automating regular jobs also had a major impact on reducing errors and reruns.

Reducing data processing time

By fully utilising the power of their hardware, automatically spreading processing over all the machine cores available, they increased throughput dramatically.  Automation also allowed them to introduce more performance tuning – set up once and then repeated easily as often as required, without any additional user effort.  All told, our client is now able to turn round large jobs involving millions of records 4 times faster than they were able to with the old desktop system.  As they are finding that the data they get from their customers tends to be less consistent and more fragmented these days, this saving on turnaround time allows them to stick to deadlines which used to be in great danger of slipping.

Protecting data by processing it within a secure database

The increasing concern these days around data security, and the increased burden of the EU GDPR regulations regarding data accuracy and the right of consumers to get a copy of their data, can cause many a sleepless night.  Two of the big benefits of processing all data within SQL Server are the access control that it provides and the auditability.  When you are exporting data from one system to another, perhaps via a flat file, it is very difficult to enforce such strict security while the data is in flight – and any security system is only as good as its weakest link.

Extensibility

Using Microsoft SQL Server together with all the off the shelf tools available means future enhancements can be made much more easily. Additionally as hardware performance and technology improves further in the future, SQL Server as a platform will keep up with those advances.

Bottom line

Working with a single solution inside a secure, high performance database system can have a huge impact on your business.  Whether it’s SQL Server or another database system that you use, you owe it to yourself to find out what the options are for switching to a data cleansing solution that lives inside your database.  Your IT staff will be happy to work with new server-based technology, they will get less out-of-hours calls, it will be easier for you to hire new staff with relevant skills – and you too will sleep more soundly!

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