Wednesday 29 January 2014

Data linking systems: publishers’ experiences

Three publishers - Royal Society of Chemistry, Taylor & Francis, and the British Editorial Society of Bone and Joint Surgery - shared their experiences of data linking systems at last week's Data, the Universe and Everything seminar.

Sarah Day, Royal Society of Chemistry
Sarah DaySenior Marketing Manager, CRM and Customer Systems at the Royal Society of Chemistry outlined how they integrated Ringgold into Salesforce, their cloud based CRM system.

The RSC data model includes: activity, contact, account, opportunity, campaign, and campaign member. Salesforce is customisable so they integrated Ringgold into their Account function. They use Ringgold for initial aggregation and import of data into Salesforce, for improving data quality, for external links (to related systems) and for bringing SCV data back into Salesforce. 

Before they implemented Salesforce they had to do manual and fuzzy checks on a range of spreadsheets used for sales leads. One challenge was that they hadn’t fully integrated Ringgold so they had to copy and paste to get hierarchy of institutions. Sales team now have to apply the Ringgold ID otherwise they can’t close or apply revenue to an account. This has proved to be an effective way to drive compliance.

Ringgold is the central identifier source for Salesforce, MasterVision (SCV), THINK (Subscription Management), authentication engine. There are, however, some challenges. The data entry team have to understand the data (e.g. understand phonetic spelling for Japanese or Chinese English pronunciation, etc). You may also have good reasons for inconsistent identifiers in your systems (Salesforce rolls up to a parent organisation, access/permissions may be different, etc).

Sarah Wright, Taylor & Francis
Sarah Wright, Customer Services Director for Taylor & Francis outlined the benefits of linking systems from a customer service point of view. 

Customers expect answers and service instantly. Automated systems help. With traditional systems, a customer order is taken, the payment is processed and you send the issue of the journal. But how can you use the same system to deliver access to online content? 

Print copies are straight forward: you post one to a particular address (e.g. Christ Church College). But if an institutional subscription has been purchased for online access this needs to go to Christ Church College, Queens College, the Department of Economics, in fact the whole university. 

Once you factor in duplications in the system due to different parts of the supply chain having different forms of data for the same place, it's a complex picture. 

As a result, they chose Ringgold ID. They have two levels so they can see they both link to the university one. Although institutional identifiers are great, they don’t always reflect how they sell to their customers (e.g. global corporate companies, consortia, etc). They can tell the system that online access should go at parent level. This has been a big success with benefits including: increased usage, reduction in complaints, improved service, visibility and reporting as well as project transfer. It is now ingrained in daily processes and reviewed all the time – so not a one-off project. Keeping data clean allows them to get the right content to the right customer at the right time.

Peter Richardson, Managing Director at the British Editorial Society of Bone and Joint Surgery, outlined the problem they faced: legacy systems - such as old and inflexible subscription systems and the author database - that do not communicate.

They have data ‘black holes’ such as new leads stored in their email marketing client Adestra that aren't updated if/when the lead was converted. There might also be poor data management by individuals and an over-reliance on external subscription data which may sometimes be of poor quality.

Peter Richardson: plugging data black holes
There were also external factors such as opportunities to link data together using identifiers such as Ringgold or ORCID. Users expectations drive the need for better data linking systems as does the drive for better customer service and more efficiencies. 

They have tackled these challenges with a brand new subscription fulfilment system - Myriad - which went live in August 2013. Data about customers is held separately from individual subscription records,  with an improved data intake. 

DataSalon will pull everything together, including data previously poured into ‘black holes’. DataSalon will also pull together customer, subscription information with the Ringgold identifier, leads, authors,  OVID customers etc. They have a greatly improved ‘dashboard’ and enhanced marketing opportunities. 

They hope to achieve better capture of marketing data (demographics, campaign codes, etc) in Myriad, have accurate addresses and data (end user info, mailing address) and better targeted campaigns as a result. Myriad is up and running and the project with DataSalon is just getting under way. They will know more in a couple of months, but believe they are on the right track.

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