How to ease the process when combining databases

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Malcolm Netburn, founding partner of circulation consultancy Netburn McGill, says that combining databases is critical to future success. Here are his recommendations for how to embark on this difficult process.
  • Inventory all current repositories of data including fulfillment systems/services, Web sites, e-mail lists, spreadsheets, existing data warehouses, proprietary directories and reader service records.
  • Define data elements that are essential for a common companywide or publicationwide database.
  • Determine the software/system/company that will be the enterprise database.
  • Purge the individual databases of old and obsolete information.
  • Within each of these databases, de-dup the file and conduct other data cleansing procedures.
  • Conduct data mapping for consolidation into the common database.
  • Determine how data will be fed to the common database on an ongoing basis so it remains up to date.
  • Define basic uses for the common database and make sure that extract and reporting capability is in place prior to implementation.
  • Consider the value of importing nonproprietary available data into the database.
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