We need a new data system. The stuff of dreams and nightmares. Whether you arent storing the right data in your system, or you cant get what you want out of it, you either have considered a new data system, or you were in the process of implementing one.
So you got everyone on board, figured out what you needed out of a data system, did an inventory of your current systems, lined up the funding, and now its taking twice as long and costing twice as much as you planned.
These are the things we see all the time:
- You have a set budget, and its a one-time spend. You get bids from vendors, or even from your IT department and halfway through the project whoever is building it tells you it will cost more money, or you get to the end of your budget, and the project isnt finished yet.
- Someone promises you the sun, the moon, and the stars, and every feature you thought to ask for (off the top of your head) but when the build is done (or you run out of time and/money) the system doesnt do what you need it to. The data isnt integrated, its not the right data, those arent the reports you need, or you cant get the right users onto the system.
- Youve gone out on a limb to make a big ask of your organization (or even your best funder) and now you are over budget, out of money, and dont have the data system you promised everyone. This is embarrassing.
This happens a LOT, but it doesnt have to be this way.
What if you didnt need a big expensive project at all? If you arent feeling confident about moving forward with that big data project, or its already starting to go sideways and you are thinking its better to stop now because you spend any more money, we have the perfect solution.
You can bring together the data you already have, using the data systems you already have, and get the reports you need without an expensive and risk migration to a new system, using data warehousing, data integration, and the reporting tool of your choice.
Data integration with the right-sized data infrastructure allows you to get the reports you need without building a whole new system or moving all your data. Instead, you build the connections you need, and add the reporting tool you like (Tableau, PowerBI, or any other tool), and get custom reports just like you need them. Beyond just repurposing the funds, you can also reduce the risk, the time required and the potential stress of your staff that is so common during major migrations.
Why You Should Choose a Data Warehousing and Integration Approach
Data integrations can usually be implemented for less than a third of the cost and effort of a data migration. It makes your data more usable and accessible in the process, so it can reduce the cost and effort required during a future migration as well. When you do decide to migrate, you can also continue to use your data infrastructure with the new system so that you dont have to migrate all of your data to the new system. Instead, by piping data from your old system and new system into the same data infrastructure, you can seamlessly analyze both together!
Since youre **using repeatable steps **(data pipeline pieces can be reused), and youre only moving data into a common format or easy to use format and not into a system-specific format like you would in a migration, you save quite a lot of time. With a migration, its like you have to learn two foreign languages well enough to translate between them. With a data integration, you only have to learn one well enough to understand it in your native language.
Whenever youre working with data, youre bound to come across the unexpected. A data integration is a smaller effort than a full migration, so its easier to address anything unexpected you come across in the process, and you have fewer systems to contend with overall. You are also not stuck with a particular system. Each of the components in the data integration is modular and can be switched out if needed.
You arent changing anything about your current processes. So your staff can keep using whatever system they are used to, but you can still get the reporting you need and answer the questions that your board or leadership is asking. No training required.
If this sounds like something that you can use, schedule a free consultation with us and we will help you think through the process and the benefits of a data integration approach for your nonprofit. Generally speaking, data integration is just moving data from one or more sources into a common format or a place that is easily accessible.
NOTE: This approach works best when you have collected the basic data that you need. It may go without saying, but you cant use data that you dont have. Schedule a free consultation, we are always happy to talk to people about their data strategy, and how to get started.