Top 10 considerations when choosing a Database Management system

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When you are confident combining your various data sources and handling all the updates, you may well be looking to source a Database Management and Business Intelligence system.

Because selection and implementation of such a system can be a complex process and involve various teams or personnel, we take a look here at the main factors to consider when making your decision, to help you with the whole process.

Ensure that the system has the capacity to grow with your data and your business.

1) Usability

Consider how user-friendly the system will be for all those members of staff required to use it. In some organisations those may include Marketing professionals, the IT department, Database Developers and others. Look at the suitability from everyone’s perspective, and consider if you can set different levels of permission for different teams or personnel.

Many systems offer drag-and-drop execution, which makes for an intuitive working methodology. Importantly, however the system works, make sure it is usable for your whole team.

2) Visualisation & Reporting

Review the ease of visually analysing and displaying results for any queries you run on your data, while making selections and deciding segments. Also, check how the software displays campaign results if you feed this information back into the database.

You should look for visual displays that will help you show selections and results to colleagues (likely other teams or managers/directors) in a way that they will be able to understand quickly and easily.

3) Security

Security of your data is an essential aspect of any database implementation. Business-sensitive data and any personal information you hold must be stored securely to adhere to regulations and to protect it from loss or theft.

It is important to consider both the physical risk to data (e.g. the risk from fire, theft, etc.) and the risks from hacking, or from unintentional corruption of data through human error. Any system you implement must address the issue of keeping your data secure.

4) Functionality

Confirm that the modules available in the data analysis software meet your business requirements. The functionality or modules you should be looking for include:

  • Extract and filter data
  • Insight and analysis
  • Segmentation and modelling
  • Automation
  • Forecasting strategy
  • Results visualisation
  • Campaign planning and ROI management.

5) Support & Development

Think about the support service the software company offers for its solution. Is this available during the hours you are likely to need support? Is the support offered by email, phone, other?

Ensure there is a development plan for the selected software so that you can be confident it will grow with emerging technologies. Make sure you will receive upgrades to the most recent version and that you will be supported for as long as you use that software.

6) Integration

Does the system you are considering integrate with your other software systems such as your Email Marketing platform and CRM system? This may be a direct integration to the specific software of there may be an open source code available for integrations.

7) Scalability

Ensure that the system has the capacity to grow with your data and your business. Remember you are likely to be adding to the data all the time, so even though your requirement may not be huge right now, this can grow very quickly if you are gathering and updating your data regularly as planned. Essentially…can it easily manage millions of rows of data?

8) Cost and Suitability

Whilst cost is obviously a factor in any business expenditure, it is wise to ensure that – as far as possible – your decision is based on the software being fit for purpose.

It could be a costly mistake to take on a system that you then invest time in building, only to find – too late – that it is not advanced enough for your needs. Equally there is no need to opt for the most expensive software available, if you are unlikely to need much of the functionality it offers.

9) Hosting

Where is your system going to be located (physically)? Will you take the system in-house or engage the services of a company to host the data and the software system for you. This could have implications for support, cost (including any additional hardware you would require), security, and possibly speed.

10) Updates

The two most important factors regarding updates to the database are frequency and automation.

Do you need data to be live and constantly in sync with your other systems, or would daily or even weekly updates to the database be sufficient? Consider that in order to automate the update process, you will typically need a consistent data source, i.e. the field types, and the files supplied each time must be the same. You should consider how often source data is likely to change, if you are ever going to import additional data and if so how your chosen software will deal with this.

  • Is there anything you would add to this list from your own experience?
  • Are you currently looking for a database management system? We’d be happy to help.

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