Data Integration Challenges and Solutions
According to IBM, “data integration is the combination of technical and business processes used to combine data from disparate sources into meaningful and valuable information.” After understanding data ownership and developing a data maintenance program, you are now able to integrate your data into your CRM (customer relationship management) program and use that data to your advantage.
Kate McCall, Head of Data Acquisition at LSC Digital, explained in a past webinar that data integration can present many challenges that must be addressed before taking the first steps. Successful data integration requires in-depth planning. There are five key questions that you must answer before any integration takes place:
- What exactly are your going to be integrating? You must define your data.
- What is the format of the data sources? Identify the links between data and how you plan to integrate it.
- What is the purpose of integrating this data to begin with? What are your KPIs? Why are you doing it?
- Do you have the infrastructure to support data integration? Where will the data live and how much space will this data occupy?
- What are the costs involved?
Until these questions are addressed, data integration cannot happen. However, we have some methods for overcoming these challenges.
There are three key avenues to answer those five questions.
First, understand all your data sources and repositories and the workflows between them. For example, are there some fields that are the same in the different sources coming together? Which of the fields will override the other same field.
Second, identify key fields that can link source data to your existing data. For example, will a customer or account ID number easily link the databases together?
Finally, seek outside assistance with data mapping tools to update existing and new records. At LSC Digital, we provide email hygiene and data append services that assist the data integration process. This goes back to the key steps towards maintaining and updating your database.
Once your data is successfully integrated with your CRM system, you can start using your database to communicate through multiple channels to your clients. Want to learn how you can implement a data integration program? Visit the data services page or contact us at (203) 743-2600 or email firstname.lastname@example.org to get started!