For those of you with school age kids, you have probably already received your childrens’ report cards. When was the last time you saw a report card for your data? Data validation testing enables you to get insight into the quality of your data assets. And, like report cards at school, you should grade your organization on a regular basis to monitor your progress.
If you are testing your data, it is important to set both the metrics you are going to test, as well as the goals and next steps to drive improvements.
When performing data validation testing, you should look at several metrics:
1) Completeness – Is the data in your databases and applications complete? That is, do all of the fields contain data or are some blank?
2) Validity- Are the fields formatted correctly as valid values for that particular field type? For example, do email addresses conform to the formats specified in RFC 5322?
3) Verified – Is the data verified correct? For example, is the address a deliverable postal address?
4) Accuracy and correctness – Is the data accurate for the record? That is, does the name and address in your systems match the current name and address for that individual or business?
5) Distribution – How are the same records distributed across your CRM, ERP, Marketing Automation, and other platforms and are they synchronized between systems? Unsynchronized and non-consistent data is one of the primary drivers for Master Data Management (MDM) initiatives.
Prior to starting your data validation test, you should decide on the concrete next steps that you will take to improve your data. For example, prior to testing data completeness, you should determine how important it is to make your data complete, and how you will resource any areas you wish to improve. Like most testing activities, the end goal should be to drive actions.
What does you data validation report card look like? Do you have straight A’s or do you need improvement? Let us know, we would like to hear from you. Drop us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org or give us a call at 919.467.4545.
From business files to gaming to mobile phones, it seems that the cloud has become a part of everyday life! But how did it all start? Well VI.net have created a new Infographic showing the growth of cloud hosting companies from the initial idea in the 1960s up to the hundreds of companies and $150 billion market we now have.
You can see the full Infographic below:
With Amazon, Apple, Google and Microsoft all involved in the cloud game it is no surprise just how big it has gotten! And it seems that soon whether we are at work, home or on the go we will have a device connected to the cloud!
There are many different kinds of batch data cleansing processes that can be performed against large databases of existing customer information. Standardizing inconsistent data, removing duplicate records, validating columns against up-to-date reference data, filling in missing data, and appending new data to existing data are all examples of customer data processing that can help improve the value of internal data assets.
When data assets undergo these kinds of processes their value increases and they enable business intelligence applications to be more useful, operations to be more efficient, and customer communication efforts to be more effective. These are worthwhile endeavors indeed.
However, it can often be a considerable effort to do large, after-the-fact database cleanup jobs - not to mention the considerable costs and complexity associated with offline data processing. Also, batch jobs are rarely a one-time effort, as the same problems begin to appear soon after a mass cleansing, and then begin to build to troublesome levels again, putting the data stewards of the organization back to square one.
An alternative can be to leverage real-time data quality mechanisms at the point of data collection
. This means validating data, filling in missing data, appending data, standardizing data, and comparing it to existing data for duplicates in real-time, before
it ever gets into the database. This can eliminate or dramatically reduce the cost and effort associated with downstream batch cleanup processes, enabling the benefits of clean, complete, accurate data to appear immediately across the organization. It also prevents the build up of these kinds of data quality issues over time.
Real-time data quality can be achieved by integrating calls to data quality functions
within business processes, Website data collection forms, customer-facing applications, call center applications where representatives speak with customers, and anywhere else that data is collected in real-time. Typically these programmatic calls are to Cloud-based APIs that are leveraging constantly refreshed reference data to ensure the highest possible data accuracy.
Here more than ever, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.
Over 3 billion phones worldwide are SMS-enabled and over 8 trillion messages were sent in 2011. Bulk SMS messaging is the newest wave of advertising and it is here to stay. Text messaging has become a widely used advertising medium. As compared to other traditional advertising channels, it can reach a larger audience in a much more interactive fashion.
In a prior blog post on SMS Gateways, we talked about the 98% open rate for SMS messages and how using an aggregator can break the barrier to reaching a broad set of your customers and prospects.
In this post, we will talk about the two main types ("full text" and "in-message") of bulk SMS advertisements, so you can determine which works best towards achieving your mobile marketing goals.
"Full text" messaging means you are sending your users a text message that is entirely focused on marketing. This is the most common type of text message advertising and it is what most of StrikeIron’s customer base focuses on. The advantage is that you have complete control over the audience and all 160 characters of the text message. Even at 160 characters, you must be disciplined to create a focused message and a relevant call-to-action.
The other type of advertising is known as "in-message", which makes use of the extra characters in existing SMS text messages one is already receiving (e.g. a weather forecast) to insert your ad. The biggest drawback of in-message SMS advertising is you are limited to only a small number of the 160 characters currently supported in text messages, typically around 40 characters. However, you may be able to gain a broader audience by using in-message advertising since you will leverage a publisher network of existing subscribers.
A third option is to use in-message advertising to build your opt-in list and then use full text bulk sms messaging to nurture and engage your customers and prospects over time.
As with any type of advertising, first set your goals for the campaign then choose the right SMS advertising method that enables you to reach these goals.
What are your thoughts? Have you tried in-message advertising?
Recently, TechCrunch announced it will be holding a Southeast meetup tour in the following cities: Savannah, Atlanta, Raleigh, Charlotte and Greenville.
StrikeIron is excited to sponsor of the Raleigh-Durham event. Join us on July 10th at Tyler’s Taproom in the American Tobacco Historic District. The restaurant and garden will be rented out, so expect plenty of food, beer and local startups. You can RSVP here.
One of the exciting things about SOAP and REST-based Web services protocols is that they are text-based, providing for the platform independence necessary for broad machine-to-machine communication and open cloud computing models. In other words, describing data using a textual XML dialect allows iPhones to communicate with mainframes, as well as enabling Fortran-developed scientific instrumentation devices to be able communicate with Dell Server applications in the Cloud written in Java.
As long as both machines are aware of the "rules" of a given XML-dialect and how data is described, they can communicate and more importantly pass data back and forth to perform certain functions based on the resultant data. This is powerful and has really helped lay the groundwork for the success of the Cloud.
To demonstrate this concept, here is an example of an "Input" SOAP message to StrikeIron's Sales and Use Tax Basic service. Remember that XML is not meant to be human readable, but rather the implementation of a set of XML dialect rules. However, if you look closely then you can see the actual data elements that are passed within the XML message received by StrikeIron within our data centers by the calling entity:
Our application servers, which are always listening, receive the request, do some user authentication, and then perform the requested task and return the resultant data XML message below. It can then be used how ever necessary by the calling entity (to process an ecommerce transaction for example). Here is an example of the "Output" XML message:
This communication and data transaction has occurred entirely without human intervention. It takes place between machines that could be located anywhere on the globe, each completely oblivious to the hardware and software that comprise the other entity.
Fortunately, humans rarely if ever need to interact at the XML-level (sometimes it might be useful for debugging). Instead, the creation, sending, receiving, and interpretation of these XML messages are handled by the software development environments that one is working in, abstracting a developer or application user away from the XML-based data exchange.
This form of XML messaging is what makes companies like StrikeIron possible, opening up pre-built data processing, data validation, aggregated data sources, and other business functions available to the world. Regardless of what software and hardware environments a customer happens to be running, it's this approach that makes the ever-evolving "Great Data Highway" possible.
Mobile phones are nearly pervasive, causing the need to reach your customers on their devices has gone from a novelty to a necessity. That being said, there are many complexities in being able to send text messages to prospects and customers. SMS Gateway Service Software eliminates theses complexities and makes delivering text messages to your customers as simple as a Web API call that can be integrated into any application, website, or business process.
SMS Text Messaging is an ideal way to engage your customers and prospects. SMS open and response rates are much higher than other outreach mediums. Surveys have shown a 98% SMS open rate (compared to a 22% open rate for similar engagement mediums like email), so text messaging is a great way to break through the noise. Additionally, SMS text messages are more regulated, so it is unlikely to have the same fatigue issues as direct mail, telemarketing, or email marketing.
Mobile marketing doesn’t have to be daunting and integrating text messaging into your business applications doesn’t have to be complex.
There are hundreds of mobile carriers worldwide. Each has their own rules and connections for sending text messages to their subscribers. SMS Gateway Software abstracts both the technology and the policy into a turn-key solution. For example, StrikeIron’s SMS Gateway reaches over 600 carriers in 60 countries worldwide enabling you to reach your customers and prospects everywhere. A simple REST and SOAP API means you can integrate with just a few lines of code.
Additionally, StrikeIron offers free trials, so you can prototype and test drive our SMS Gateway Software for free. Get started today!
Data Verification is a process where data is checked for accuracy and inconsistencies. It is a critical process that underscores the importance of your business’ data quality.
Here are a few benefits demonstrating how high-quality data can improve businesses:
• Increased revenue/cost reduction
• Enhanced customer experience
• Efficient operations
No matter the industry, data verification techniques add value. High-quality data allows greater confidence in analytic systems and decreases the time spent reconciling data. It enables a more uniform version of the truth, allowing stakeholders the ability to identify and implement necessary changes. This in turn enables companies to cut costs and increase ROI.
Data verification can occur on different types of data, but it is especially important for customer data. Customer contact information (e.g. phone numbers, addresses, emails, etc.) is notoriously volatile and difficult to maintain at high accuracy levels. Experts estimate that 2% of records in a CRM consumer database become obsolete each month due to customers dying, divorcing, marrying or moving.
We recommend utilizing real-time data quality solutions that focus on the hygiene of customer data. We suggest your business take advantage of email verification, address verification, phone number validation, and reverse phone append solutions. These cloud-based data verification techniques are easy to incorporate and great for ensuring your company has high-quality data.