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Need to convert data? Here’s how to do it right

Mar 03, 2023

Data lake. Central repository. Single source of truth.

No matter what you call it, data analysts agree that having all your business information in one place is the most effective and efficient way to apply it. But that usually means you need to move and convert your data.

Data conversion is the process of translating data from one format or structure to another. Data needs to be converted when it’s moved so it can be analyzed in the appropriate context. Data conversion is time consuming but important for information to be accurate and actionable.

When planning a data conversion, keep these do’s and don’ts in mind:

  • Do clean data before you convert it. Data conversion is a good reason to spring clean. Check for duplicate information in your databases and remove bad entries (e.g., bounced email addresses).
  • Don’t move irrelevant or outdated information. You don’t want old data in a new system.
  • Do convert valuable information, such as customer names, contact information, demographics and participation data. If you collected data points for an ad hoc campaign or purpose, review it for relevancy and accuracy before the conversion.
  • Don’t toss out everything that’s old. Legacy data can be useful for benchmarking, trend analyses and other reference points. To keep the new database clean, limit access to historical data to a few key team members.
  • Do enter data manually if there are 100 or fewer entries. In that range, it’s easier to rekey data in the new database than it is to write a script for conversion. For large conversions or subsets of data, write a conversion script.
  • Don’t wing it. Data conversion is complex. It’s best to work with a team of professionals that have firsthand experience.

Data conversion is just the start. Then, it’s time to integrate. The goal is to create a clean, updated data source that everyone can access in real time.

A strong data strategy leads to better decisions. Is your data working as hard as it could be? With data conversion and integration, you could gain better insights.

If you’re not sure where to start, ask. Our team can help you convert data and uncover new opportunities to serve customers and grow. Learn more about data and conversion on our data and analytics services page.


Kyle Aulerich
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