Data as a Service: From Flat Files to Real-Time Insight

an_api_callTime is money. So, increasingly, is data. Here’s the catch: Data’s value actually ‘rusts’ over time. Consider this. Every 60 minutes, businesses are hit with an average 399 lawsuits, D&B research shows. In the same amount of time, 148 new businesses are started, while 9 file for bankruptcy—and that is just in the U.S. And as business processes continue to accelerate, data rusts faster and faster with each new quarter.

Yet many organizations still rely solely on data delivered in flat files via file transfer protocol (FTP). While this is appropriate for large-scale analyses, it’s no longer enough to compete effectively in a fast-changing, agile world. Because it’s difficult to make good decisions based on information that may be months – or quarters — out of date.

Here’s why. FTP is still a fantastic way to process multiple files quickly, in one pass. But configuring these transfers requires manually intervention. In other words, they take time, often a couple of weeks. As a result, many overworked IT departments limit updates to once a quarter, or even less frequently.

Turning on the Spigot

Enter Data as a Service (DaaS). It is the latest in the constantly expanding arena of ‘as a Service’ technologies. Like its popular cousin Software as a Service, DaaS enables delivery of content in real time via the cloud. Think of it as a constant stream of data — what you need, when you need it — rather than intermittent bucketful.

The D&B Direct 2.0 API is the engine that drives D&B Direct’s DaaS offerings. The API allows you to pour all kinds of business data—financial, supplier, customer, social—directly into business applications, in real time. Once you configure your initial API call logic in D&B Direct, you can receive ongoing updates instantly. No more latency periods for cleanup and integration. Meanwhile, you are sure records are clean from the moment they enter your systems.

In other words all fresh data, all the time. And the potential uses are almost as boundless as data itself.

  • Deal-making due diligence
  • Credit portfolio management and collections prioritization
  • Integrated financial decision-making
  • Compliance
  • Source-cost optimization, and supplier and distributor performance
  • Order management
  • Segmentation and targeting optimization
  • Advanced marketing automation and nurture
  • Social and digital intelligence
  • And many more

Keep the Baby and the Bathwater

Best of all, you can move your organization toward DaaS without forgoing the convenience of FTP transfers. For example, if you’re performing a system migration, flat files remain an ideal way to match and cleanse large volumes of records at once.

In fact, many D&B customers make a gradual transition to DaaS, using flat files for initial cleansing of large data sets, then keeping data fresh via continuous updates in real-time with D&B Direct. In other words, a fast and efficient way to give your teams the right data at the point of decision — whenever and wherever they need it.

Posted in AllianceNetwork, Data Quality, Sales & Marketing, Solution Partners, Strategic Partners by Jim Dietrich

Jim Dietrich is Vice President of Channel Enablement for D&B Global Product Solutions

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