Are You Equipped?
And once your database is successfully built and running, it can always be migrated to your in-house computer, if you choose to go that route. But in the crucial formative years, you cannot afford to rely on a part-time, pickup job done by an inexperienced in-house crew.
Case Study of a Database Build
The marketing staff of a large telephone company wanted to build a database of its 1 million yellow page advertisers. The plan was to have the database up and running in six months so the company could use it as a lead-generating and tracking system for its sales force. The marketing staff received funding approval for a pilot test of the idea. The database was built by an outside service bureau in a three-month period. It enabled the marketing team, for the first time, to know who its most profitable customers were-and to compare the level of advertising by different industrial classifications. It worked and provided the marketing staff with exactly the insights it wanted.
The next step was to develop a long-term contract to keep the database updated on a monthly basis using a tape from the MIS billing file as the key input. Seeing a reduction in its key role in the company, the in-house MIS group said it could build such a database itself, and what's more, do the job cheaper. The external contract was canceled.
To build the database in-house, the MIS staff had to install new and unfamiliar database software, new merge/purge software, and postal presort software. It had to create a new online access system so that users could work directly with the database. Millions of dollars were spent on acquiring this new software and learning how to use it. The work went slowly because the MIS team had many other more high-priority projects, all of which took programmer time and funding away from the marketing database. Four years later, the database had not been built. The key individuals on the marketing staff who had initiated the program had left the company. The project was canceled.