Puzzling Over Data

Puzzling Over Data

This piece was originally published in the July 2016 issue of electroindustry.

Christine Shattuck, Manager, Member Relations, NEMA

Christine Shattuck

When I started at NEMA some 15 years ago, my primary task was to clean up the membership database.

Prior to my arrival, NEMA had purchased a generic customer relationship management (CRM) system that was poorly designed and had no report capabilities. This resulted in a database that, at best, could not be updated in a timely fashion. At worst, it was not being used at all.

By the time I came on board, the data had not only become a source of embarrassment for the staff but also started to undermine members’ confidence in us. Our problems were solved with a new CRM system. It consolidated data from other silos, standardized the data in the tables, requested updates from members, and provided members with the ability to update their data online.

It was a challenge, but that is one reason why I like working with databases: working with a database is like working on a puzzle. Inside the tables, puzzle piece–like data have no meaning by themselves. But when you start snapping those unrelated pieces together, a picture is revealed. Sometimes it can show you something that you weren’t expecting to see.

Read this month’s issue of electroindustry.

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