Care needs to be made when updating CRM data

Published: Thursday, April 26, 2012

Organizations establishing their databases in the cloud frequently have a number of systems that are loosely connected to each other. A recent ITworld report said this normal practice typically leads to a slight delay in data updates as the information needs to be transferred from one system to another. This can easily be overcome through effective processes and does not pose significant problems for organizations. However, the unique requirements of customer relationship management data are such that businesses need to employ special measures to ensure information is accurate and up-to-date at all times.

When dealing with loosely connected cloud databases, the average update typically takes a few seconds, maybe a few minutes at most. However, the report said that delay can expand if the system is set to perform a large refresh over the weekend or if it is dealing with a larger task, such as quarterly reporting. In these instances, the updates can take hours.

According to the news source, this slight delay is not in any way problematic because the system is built to work that way and most information can simply be marked with a time stamp to show when it was last updated, giving users a clear idea of the data's accuracy. This rule of thumb works for the vast majority of information businesses deal with, but does not solve CRM data needs, making the slight delay a potential issue if not handled correctly.

The report explained that most enterprise database solutions can handle the delay, but the source and nature of data within CRM systems will not allow for the delay that is typical when dealing with loosely connected cloud systems. The first problem is that CRM databases are typically updated using source information either directly from the customer or gathered by sales representatives. At the same time, CRM DBs also tend to be updated far more frequently than transactional systems, for example, the report said. In some cases, a CRM DB is altered dozens of times daily, meaning that delays in updates can be more noticeable because employees are accessing the system with greater frequency.

To successfully overcome the challenges that come with dealing with delay in CRM databases, organizations need to combine integration and access control in a fluid manner, the report said. Companies need the database to be accessible to a variety of corporate sources. This means that a marketing DB, for example, needs to be able to gather data from the CRM DB under certain circumstances. This is integral to the ongoing success of the database system in general. At the same time, organizations also need to carefully establish guidelines as to who can access CRM data and when. This will help ensure that fields are not changed when the updates are being refreshed. Properly balancing who can make changes, when they can make them and how those guidelines affect other departments gathering data are all essential considerations to take into account with cloud-based CRM databases.

To strike this balance, the report said businesses should also consider always making duplicate records if information they are updating seems to match older data, then flagging that entry for sales to recognize. They can then look at the data when everything updates and sort through which information is accurate, redundant, incorrect or not in the right place.

While there may be some challenges with loosely connected databases in the cloud, the core cloud technology offers benefits that are too great to ignore. These advantages can be furthered by using open source database systems, as the cloud is built around flexibility and an open source platform gives organizations the ability to cater their DB to the cloud and vice-versa, ensuring optimal efficiency.