The Data Updates Process

Document type: Tech doc  
Associated product(s): Product name: Data
Views: 3694  |  Created: 4 years agoLast updated: 4 years ago

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Introduction

We obtain raw data from numerous data suppliers across many countries. There are several processes this data goes through from first arriving at QAS to it being shipped to our customers. We regard our data to be of a higher quality than our competitors due to these processes.

This page aims to shed a little light on the cycle your data passes through before it reaches you to work with your QAS product.

 

 

Stage by Stage

Data Arrival

We receive data from postal services and data providers globally. They arrive on many formats including CDs, DVDs, email, FTP and mainframe tapes. The data is uploaded to a central, highly secure data production network.

Facts:

  • Major suppliers include Royal Mail, Experian and US Postal Services
  • We have around 30+ data providers
  • The largest raw data file is the USA Enhanced at 80GB
  • The smallest raw data file is for Luxemburg at 1MB

Data Build

The raw data is cleaned, compressed, indexed and encrypted for use with QAS products. This ensures that your QAS product works with speed and efficiency alongside the data it uses. In addition, the data is supplemented with extra information not included in the raw data e.g. counties and aliases such as Rd for Road.

Facts:

  • The longest build is for USA Enhanced and takes approximately 6 days due to the near 180 million records that need to be processed in the raw data
  • The shortest build is the Telephone and Fax Preference Service (TPS and FPS) which takes around 3 minutes

Image Created

Using the built files, our Installations and Upgrades department create an image of the data with an installer. This automates the process for the user by automatically detecting which files to update and for which products, resulting in the process of updating data being smooth, simple and streamlined for our customers.

Facts:

  • Installations and Upgrades create the images for the datasets of over 70 countries (with International Data) which leads to over 370 individual images over the course of the year

Testing

Our Product Quality department test both the virtual and hard copy (master CD) of the image thoroughly. The data files and installers are tested on different platforms to ensure that the data works with our full range of QAS products.

Facts:

  • On average 34 man days are spent on testing data updates each month
  • For months that quarterly updates fall in (March, June, September and December) this almost doubles.

Duplication, Letters and Shipping

Once the CD’s have been tested, they are duplicated. An extract is taken from our customer database to generate customer update requirements, their addresses and the CD numbers. Finally, all this information is mail merged to produce the customer letters and the update is fulfilled.

Facts:

  • Over 90,000 CD’s are sent out to around 9,000 customers
  • Approximately 55,000 letters are generated each year
     

 

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