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What is joined-up data?
You’ve probably heard of the phrase joined-up thinking. Well, joined-up data is really the same thing: different departments having a free exchange of data.
An example of a system with joined-up data would be the following:
Imagine a railway company. One computer system holds the track information – lengths, junctions, stations – in a GIS database. Another system handles the scheduling. The two systems talk to each other. For example, the scheduling system can query the GIS system to find out how long a train will take to get from station A to station B and then it presents the timetable to the user.
A third system is a ticketing solution. This system uses information from the GIS systems to find out length of track and station zones, and calculate prices for journeys. All systems are joined-up.
Now consider a cleaning company. They get requests over the phone for jobs and open up a calendar to see when they’re free. They book the appointment with the client, then look up the customer in an address book application to get their address, and copy that information to the calendar so they know where to go to do the job.
When the job is done, the cleaner fills out a hand-written note, which is dropped on the completed pile when they return to the office. A secretary goes through the completed pile, and types the information into excel to create an invoice, which is printed and mailed to the client. At the end of the month, all the excel spreadsheets are totaled to do the accounts.
This is an example of a computer system with data that is not joined-up. This sounds like a bad example, but is very typical of medium sized or growing businesses. All of these systems are on a computer somewhere – the calendar, the address book, the excel invoices – so they could all be joined up: they could all be one system.
The advantages of joined-up data are manifold. Employee’s would save time copying data and so would have more time to spend creating new business. Mistakes wouldn’t be made – cleaners going to the wrong address or even worse, invoices being lost in the system. Invoicing would be quicker and so cash-flow would be better, and so on.
Then there are the fringe benefits. With everything in one joined-up system, unpaid invoices could be tracked and the user alerted on a regular basis. Customers who’s address hasn’t been visited in several months could be sent a reminder email, asking if they require a spring-clean, thus generating more business.
When explained in this way, the arguments for a joined-up system are overwhelming, yet many businesses put-off software upgrades, because they are afraid of the unknown.
software guru can help. We have lots of experience in upgrading and connecting multiple systems in this way. We can create a seamless data ecosystem and we can make the transition from an old antiquated process as smooth as possible. Clients of ours have no regrets, and can’t believe they’ve lived with an inadequate system for so long.
If you’re interested in learning how we can help make your life easier, call us today for a pain-free assessment.