- PublishDate: 08 March 2016
- MediaName: Joomla Community Magazine
Beware of Data Skew
Simply put, the more lists that you have that contain the same data, the more likely they are to not match up. This is called data skew.
Here is a simple example that, while less likely to happen today, it was not too long ago that it was common. You had a list of contacts in Outlook on your desktop, a list of contacts in Outlook on your laptop, and a list of minimal contact information in your flip-phone. You are on the phone with your brother and he tells you that he just changed his cellular carrier, and he is getting a new number. You tell him to hold on, and you update that number in your flip-phone then you go on chatting and it totally leaves your mind.
You have just experienced DATA SKEW — your brother’s new number is not in either Outlook……so unless you remembered you changed it in the flip-phone, you can’t upgrade your computers to his new number. And worst of all, after you remember, you have to change it in two other places. How likely is it that you might mistype the number on one of the other two devices? If your reading and typing skills are anything like mine, pretty likely. I’m much better at transposing than I am at transcribing.
Decreasing Data Skew
The scenarios like the one above are much less likely nowadays. If you are in the Apple ecosystem like we are here anything changed in contacts on one device is immediately updated in any of the other devices you tell it to. So, I can make a phone number change on my iMac, and within seconds, that change is visible on my iPhone, my iPad and my Macbook. Data Skew solved….at least for my contact list.
Dueling data: Site vs CRM
But what about the customer/prospect data in my membership site and my CRM (Customer Relationship Management) database, my sales and marketing automation system, and my eCommerce? Well, I’ve solved it! At least for those four items, and more, but more is beyond the scope of this article.
How did I do it?
I made one the master and the rest sync with it.
NOTE: I will tell you what I do and the tools I use, but only as an example. There are other tools that accomplish the same thing.
First, I use Infusionsoft as my combined CRM, sales & marketing automation platform, and eCommerce platform. So right there, three points of data skew eliminated. Then I use JoomFuse to link Infusionsoft to my Joomla membership site.
When someone buys a membership on an Infusionsoft Order Form, they are automatically put into a post-sale marketing campaign, and a user, with the proper user group based on what the customer bought, is created in Joomla. Then the Joomla username & password is stored back in Infusionsoft. And if they update their profile on the website, that information is sent back to their contact record. So, it doesn’t matter where the changes take place, the other place(s) are updated almost instantly.
This not only eliminates data skew, but much more importantly, it eliminates the time and headaches associated with doing this maintenance manually.