Data Management can either be conducted internally (in-house), externally (out sourced) or a combination of both.

Today we are going to discuss the pros and cons of each to find out what suits your needs best.

In-House Data Management has a number of key advantages over outsourcing, such as;

  • Tight control over each and every aspect of the process.
  • The dynamic ability to change on the fly as the business evolves.
  • The ability to analyse each step, and determine exactly where processes can be bettered.
  • The ability to effectively troubleshoot, should a problem arise.
  • The cost of the activity can be potentially amortised over a greater period.

A number of businesses start off with a solution that they think will get them through “for now”.  This could be as rudimentary as an excel spread sheet, or as “sophisticated” as an Access Database.   Either way, they can end up with a disaster on their hands within a short period of time especially when multiple excel sheets with different headers and/or content are brought into the equation.

But all is not lost with these approaches, as these data sets will still allow you to form a foundation for your business, and enable you to create an effective CRM.  If your preference is to manage this in-house, then there are a number of tools out there that would allow you to perform some clean-up of the data, and get all the information into one concise format.

DataTools has such a product called Twins that is highly effective at importing multiple file types/header variations, into a single “work space”.  This “work space”, then allows you to perform address validation and de-duping exercises on your data, to provide you with a distinct data set ready for use/import into your CRM.

By doing this yourself, you’re able to determine what is classified as a duplicate, how old the oldest record should be, and which records to keep within a multi-dataset hierarchy i.e. When combining MYOB, Purchased Lists, Web source data, you would always want to keep MYOB records as a “Parent”, and then Web sourced data and then Purchased Lists.  With you in control of how these actions are performed, you have the ability for finite control.

Out Sourced Data Management provides a number of key advantages.  Primarily;

  • It’s what they do, such that there is no learning curve on how to manipulate and process data.
  • Not only will they be able to validate your address information, but they’ll also be able to validate phone numbers and address information for recency, so if your data is old, they can tell you what is current, or even what the correct information now is.
  • The time required to process the data will generally be less than if you were to do it yourself, as they have the knowledge, the hardware and the supporting systems to handle all data set sizes.
  • Dependent upon the requirements and ongoing nature of the management, an outsourced solution can be cheaper.

Data Management organisations have a greater range of resources available, and can leverage relationships with multiple parties to achieve your data goals.  By performing this work yourself, you’re only as good as the data you have available internally. Think of it this way, you wouldn’t ask your local coffee house to build you a car, so why ask your internal marketing team to handle your data?  Outsourcing gives you the opportunity to focus on what you know, and that’s YOUR business.  You can then dedicate your time to building your business and engaging with your customers. Let someone else worry about how to manage the data for you.

So, we’ve been through the Pros of each – time for the Cons.

In-house disadvantages:

  • Knowledge. Handing data management to someone internally because they’re IT savvy, or you know you can trust them to deliver, doesn’t mean that they’re going to be able to do the best job for you. They can only work with the knowledge they have – meaning what you don’t know, you don’t know.
  • Distractions. Often the person/team responsible for this has a number of other responsibilities that will take them away from the task of Data management. This divides their attention, and ensures that the business loses focus on its greatest asset, the data.
  • Time. Due to distractions, the time it takes to complete simple Data Management tasks is often longer than it should be.

Outsourcing disadvantages:

  • Cost. Using an out-sourced solution is often more expensive. And for repetitive tasks, it is usually cheaper to build a solution in-house that meets your needs.
  • Control – by out sourcing you’re definitely forgoing some control on how things are done.  Certainly you have control of the final output BUT the methods used to get there are only as good as the outsourcer you use.  Not all organisations are the same, nor will they use the same tools to achieve your goals.  Only use organisations with accredited tools supporting them, and always ask what software they use.

At the end of the day, it will come down to the following factors:

  • Time
  • Cost
  • In-house ability
  • Control

If you have the time and ability, and can’t afford the upfront cost of an outsourced solution, then perhaps an in-house alternative is the way to go. Alternatively – if you’re lacking time and/or ability to perform such a task, then an effective outsourced solution will serve you well and provide you with some immediate wins.

However, it may also pay to compromise. Having the outsourced organisation build the solution for you so that it can then be done internally may ultimately reduce labour costs whilst helping to control and protect the privacy of your data.

For more on Twins and importing multiple data sources into the one workspace, please contact us on (02) 9687 4666.