Microsoft SQL Server

Unlocking data quality in the public sector with Microsoft SQL Server

Data errors are a big issue that afflict 91 per cent of organisations. The public sector is no exception as many struggle to maintain up-to-date databases – particularly with correct contact data, such as names, addresses, emails and telephone numbers.

One of the main causes of poor-quality data is its ongoing decay. Data degrades at three per cent a month, according to Gartner, and around 25 per cent a year, as people move home, divorce and pass away.

Access to clean data is essential

 Putting data cleaning processes in place avoids wasting time and precious budget on inaccurate communications and helps to deliver a standout service to the public.

 Holding accurate data opens the door to acquiring valuable insight, such as a single citizen view (SCV), which can be used for better targeting, including personalisation with communications. Furthermore, it’s possible to make informed decisions; for example, on the future of a service, or the creation of a new one. It’s an approach that aids the delivery of a consistent, positive user experience, which is something that’s expected by most people in today’s increasingly digital world.

 Another important benefit of having clean data on citizens is that the opportunity for fraud is reduced. This avoids potential monetary losses and reputational damage.

It is possible to deliver clean data by making simple and cost-effective changes to your data quality regime, often using services accessed via the likes of Microsoft SQL Server.

Why Microsoft SQL Server?

Database management system Microsoft SQL Server is a technology that many in the public sector, particularly the NHS, utilise. Largely because it’s a technology that is already available on a large number of their systems.

What sets this technology apart is that it offers an excellent route to easily access third-party applications via SQL Server Integration Services (SSIS), because it acts as a connecter between systems, and functions at a high operating speed. Tools can be simply accessed without further integration - just drag, drop and start using.

SQL offers direct access to data quality capabilities that clean and verify contact data. Outsourcing is not required or the need to go through complex data privacy and compliance because you are in control, with data remaining behind your organisation’s firewall. This removes concerns about the possibility of data breaches.

By obtaining appropriate data quality components via SQL Server organisations are able to collect data from any source and use it to cleanse and transform their databases, enabling them to gain immediate insight for actionable intelligence.

For best practice source a data quality provider, such as ourselves at Melissa, who can provide a full suite of easy-to-integrate data quality solutions via SQL Server. These should include the ability to cleanse data to correct inconsistencies and validate data using powerful global address, name, phone and email verification processes. Additionally, there should be a component in the suite that can match data with advanced fuzzy matching algorithms to better organise and structure the database into, for example, family groups or members of the same household; or just to simply eliminate costly duplicates.

Various connector technologies/routes to integrate third-party applications are available

There are a number of other connector technologies. SQL Server isn’t the only one. Plugins exist for major platforms which can be employed to aid the integration of services, such as Salesforce and MS Dynamics.

It’s important to acknowledge that while plugins help to make integration more straightforward, some flexibility in approach can be lost due to the standardised out-of-the-box set-up many have.

Also, bear in mind with the evolution of technology that there are a number of other options available when it comes to selecting how to access and integrate third-party applications to continue operating effectively. These include cloud API, software-as-a-service (SaaS) and on-premise. All have their strengths, which is why it’s vital to weigh up the available options and choose the one that’s appropriate for you.

In summary

With SQL Server already embedded in many public sector systems it’s a great place to start when looking to source data quality services and ensuring your user databases are clean and up to date. This is due to the number of benefits it offers as connector technology for third-party applications. Contact us at Melissa to access our extensive range of market-leading data quality services that can be integrated not only via SQL Server, but SaaS, cloud API and on-premise.


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