Home > Articles > Software Development & Management

Managing Your Data, On and Off the Net

📄 Contents

  1. Managing Your Data, On and Off the Net
  2. Beyond Data Management
Data Management Expert Laura Brown looks at the issues surrounding data management, from the initial customer contact to the acceptance of customer payment, and everything in between.

Data Management Expert Laura Brown looks at the issues surrounding data management, from the initial customer contact to the acceptance of customer payment, and everything in between.

Managing Your Data, On and Off the Net

By Laura Brown

From the initial customer contact to the acceptance of customer payment, at the heart of every business transaction is the creation, capture, or exchange of information. Managing such information is the focus of data strategy, warehousing, and architecture efforts. The data that business events revolve around is the currency of information systems. Ensuring that it is current, well integrated, and sharable between business applications is the job of data management.

The Cycle of Data Management

A day in the life of a piece of corporate data will see that data move through many different perspectives of use and handling. First, the data is captured, and then checked for errors in entry, format, and other attributes according to its validation rules. Next, it travels to the systems that utilize the data for primary business contact, processing transactions, and supporting primary business functions, such as sales, order-fulfillment, and services. After being cleaned up for corporate standards, the data moves on to be shared with other systems that need it to complete their picture of the company's business, and is manipulated and stored in decision-support holding areas. Finally, the data is distributed for selective viewing of both company insiders and external users, such as customers and suppliers.

Data management needs to recognize the cycle around which data stewardship revolves. At each step of the process, different priorities will surface. They will require different technical design and development approaches employing defined terms and agreed-upon structures. Figure 1 shows the steps of the cycle and some of the supporting technical structures. It adopts a starting point where customer and supplier interactions initiate business transactions that must be processed. Keep in mind that although it's a common starting point, it is a little arbitrary because activities in any step of this model can act as a starting point.

Figure 1

The Cycle of Data Management depicts how data is utilized at each step of the process.

The following are the steps of the Cycle of Data Management:

  1. Process business transactions.
  2. Transform data for sharing.
  3. Support business decisions.
  4. Create internal portals.
  5. Create external portals.
  6. Interact with customers and suppliers.

Process Business Transactions

Business events, such as a customer contact resulting in a sales order being placed, or a customer request that is filled by customer service personnel, produce data that must be managed. They involve relatively small amounts of data that must be maintained with a high level of accuracy at the time of the transaction and access of the data. Business transactions are typically simple transactions involving very detailed data. For example, a customer order includes specific mailing address, product information, and pricing details.

The systems that support such business transactions must handle many simultaneous updates, reads, and insertions of data. They must often be available for processing on a continual basis, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. They have low requirements for storage of historical information, usually needing only that information required for supporting the flow of work.

The data model for supporting business transactions is usually highly normalized, which means that data components are structured so that they are stored only once for convenient control of updates. The data model also attempts to achieve a balance between design for state modification (insert, update, delete) and speed of retrieval or data access. Because the data usage is predictable, the data model can be optimized for these performance concerns.

Data management in business transactions usually prioritizes data persistency and state management. It will be utilized by down-stream systems (subscribers to the information) that are usually unrelated to the systems producing the data.

Transform Data for Sharing

The data produced in business transactions must often be transformed before being shared with other applications. Sometimes sensitive or irrelevant information must be removed before sharing. At other times, information must be made generic so that it matches the definitions of other application views. Some data will be summarized and used to support analytical processing or decision support. Other information will be used internally by other departments such as operations or financial reporting, whereas some data is selected for sharing with customers and suppliers, depending on the requirements of their interactions with the company.

Data extraction, transformation, and middleware tools are all means of transforming data to make is suitable for sharing. Extraction and transformation tools usually help to convert, cleanse, and standardize data. Middleware and messaging technologies facilitate the physical aspects of sharing data, through the use of data delivery mechanisms and subscription maintenance machinery.

The priorities at this stage are for credible data, verified, cleansed, and transformed in a streamlined process. Speed of data availability for sharing with mission-critical applications is also an important factor. In some cases, speed of data availability is considered more important than one hundred-percent accuracy of the data. For example, data that is summarized and used for forecasting might be accurate to within a five-percent margin of error, a margin that would not be acceptable for the processing of business transactions.

Support Business Decisions

The data that is delivered to decision-support applications is used to help companies measure performance, manipulate revenue, yield ratios, make market decisions, and monitor operational statistics. It is earmarked for business management and strategic functions, and used in determining competitive advantage. It can be used to identify opportunities for improvement and growth of the company.

Decision-support data is often derived through summarization and calculations applied to detailed data taken from transaction processing systems. It often involves large volumes of data, with significant amounts of historical data used for trend analysis and reporting of regulatory and markets information. Analytical processing usually involves complex transactions or queries against the data, utilized in unpredictable ways by processes characterized by discovery. A fairly small user community (managers, executives, and analysts) needs actual access to the data.

Data models for analytical processing are optimized for rapid access through non-repetitive queries, producing unpredictable workloads. The priority is on efficient data retrieval, which requires that data be heavily indexed and de-normalized (more than one copy of a data component stored) for convenient access rather than normalized for convenient update. Integrity constraints, such as those utilized for transaction processing (primary keys, foreign keys, and column constraints), are generally relaxed in decision-support systems because the source systems can be expected to enforce the referential integrity that is required.

Create Internal Portals

Internal portals allow parties within a company to access data according to the needs of their particular business or application viewpoint. Data warehouses spawn data marts, which house application-specific views of data replicated from the central repository. Intranet portals provide windows on data that can be needed by operational personnel or marketing analysts.

Internal portals represent multiple views against the company's information and are generally accessed with low security requirements, within the confines of a company firewall.

Create External Portals

External portals provide access to customers and suppliers for carefully selected portions of a company's information. Portions of the business process in which customers or suppliers participate can be detailed on public Web sites. Financial performance can be provided in annual reports online or investor information packets. Product and service specifications and pricing can also be made available through an external portal on company information.

Characterized by selective viewing, external portals usually reside outside a company's firewall, providing a highly secured environment for customer and supplier interactions.

Interact with Customers and Suppliers

Interactions with customers and suppliers can occur through the window of an external portal, or they can be facilitated by business transaction processing systems. Sometimes they occur with replicated versions of company data, carried by a sales or marketing representative in a remote device such as a laptop computer configured to provide price quotes and service specifications.

Distribution of data becomes important in the interaction step, with an emphasis on convenient access and accuracy to certain limits established within a window of time. Partitioning and data replication are schemes that provide the desired distributed deployment of components of data.

InformIT Promotional Mailings & Special Offers

I would like to receive exclusive offers and hear about products from InformIT and its family of brands. I can unsubscribe at any time.


Pearson Education, Inc., 221 River Street, Hoboken, New Jersey 07030, (Pearson) presents this site to provide information about products and services that can be purchased through this site.

This privacy notice provides an overview of our commitment to privacy and describes how we collect, protect, use and share personal information collected through this site. Please note that other Pearson websites and online products and services have their own separate privacy policies.

Collection and Use of Information

To conduct business and deliver products and services, Pearson collects and uses personal information in several ways in connection with this site, including:

Questions and Inquiries

For inquiries and questions, we collect the inquiry or question, together with name, contact details (email address, phone number and mailing address) and any other additional information voluntarily submitted to us through a Contact Us form or an email. We use this information to address the inquiry and respond to the question.

Online Store

For orders and purchases placed through our online store on this site, we collect order details, name, institution name and address (if applicable), email address, phone number, shipping and billing addresses, credit/debit card information, shipping options and any instructions. We use this information to complete transactions, fulfill orders, communicate with individuals placing orders or visiting the online store, and for related purposes.


Pearson may offer opportunities to provide feedback or participate in surveys, including surveys evaluating Pearson products, services or sites. Participation is voluntary. Pearson collects information requested in the survey questions and uses the information to evaluate, support, maintain and improve products, services or sites, develop new products and services, conduct educational research and for other purposes specified in the survey.

Contests and Drawings

Occasionally, we may sponsor a contest or drawing. Participation is optional. Pearson collects name, contact information and other information specified on the entry form for the contest or drawing to conduct the contest or drawing. Pearson may collect additional personal information from the winners of a contest or drawing in order to award the prize and for tax reporting purposes, as required by law.


If you have elected to receive email newsletters or promotional mailings and special offers but want to unsubscribe, simply email information@informit.com.

Service Announcements

On rare occasions it is necessary to send out a strictly service related announcement. For instance, if our service is temporarily suspended for maintenance we might send users an email. Generally, users may not opt-out of these communications, though they can deactivate their account information. However, these communications are not promotional in nature.

Customer Service

We communicate with users on a regular basis to provide requested services and in regard to issues relating to their account we reply via email or phone in accordance with the users' wishes when a user submits their information through our Contact Us form.

Other Collection and Use of Information

Application and System Logs

Pearson automatically collects log data to help ensure the delivery, availability and security of this site. Log data may include technical information about how a user or visitor connected to this site, such as browser type, type of computer/device, operating system, internet service provider and IP address. We use this information for support purposes and to monitor the health of the site, identify problems, improve service, detect unauthorized access and fraudulent activity, prevent and respond to security incidents and appropriately scale computing resources.

Web Analytics

Pearson may use third party web trend analytical services, including Google Analytics, to collect visitor information, such as IP addresses, browser types, referring pages, pages visited and time spent on a particular site. While these analytical services collect and report information on an anonymous basis, they may use cookies to gather web trend information. The information gathered may enable Pearson (but not the third party web trend services) to link information with application and system log data. Pearson uses this information for system administration and to identify problems, improve service, detect unauthorized access and fraudulent activity, prevent and respond to security incidents, appropriately scale computing resources and otherwise support and deliver this site and its services.

Cookies and Related Technologies

This site uses cookies and similar technologies to personalize content, measure traffic patterns, control security, track use and access of information on this site, and provide interest-based messages and advertising. Users can manage and block the use of cookies through their browser. Disabling or blocking certain cookies may limit the functionality of this site.

Do Not Track

This site currently does not respond to Do Not Track signals.


Pearson uses appropriate physical, administrative and technical security measures to protect personal information from unauthorized access, use and disclosure.


This site is not directed to children under the age of 13.


Pearson may send or direct marketing communications to users, provided that

  • Pearson will not use personal information collected or processed as a K-12 school service provider for the purpose of directed or targeted advertising.
  • Such marketing is consistent with applicable law and Pearson's legal obligations.
  • Pearson will not knowingly direct or send marketing communications to an individual who has expressed a preference not to receive marketing.
  • Where required by applicable law, express or implied consent to marketing exists and has not been withdrawn.

Pearson may provide personal information to a third party service provider on a restricted basis to provide marketing solely on behalf of Pearson or an affiliate or customer for whom Pearson is a service provider. Marketing preferences may be changed at any time.

Correcting/Updating Personal Information

If a user's personally identifiable information changes (such as your postal address or email address), we provide a way to correct or update that user's personal data provided to us. This can be done on the Account page. If a user no longer desires our service and desires to delete his or her account, please contact us at customer-service@informit.com and we will process the deletion of a user's account.


Users can always make an informed choice as to whether they should proceed with certain services offered by InformIT. If you choose to remove yourself from our mailing list(s) simply visit the following page and uncheck any communication you no longer want to receive: www.informit.com/u.aspx.

Sale of Personal Information

Pearson does not rent or sell personal information in exchange for any payment of money.

While Pearson does not sell personal information, as defined in Nevada law, Nevada residents may email a request for no sale of their personal information to NevadaDesignatedRequest@pearson.com.

Supplemental Privacy Statement for California Residents

California residents should read our Supplemental privacy statement for California residents in conjunction with this Privacy Notice. The Supplemental privacy statement for California residents explains Pearson's commitment to comply with California law and applies to personal information of California residents collected in connection with this site and the Services.

Sharing and Disclosure

Pearson may disclose personal information, as follows:

  • As required by law.
  • With the consent of the individual (or their parent, if the individual is a minor)
  • In response to a subpoena, court order or legal process, to the extent permitted or required by law
  • To protect the security and safety of individuals, data, assets and systems, consistent with applicable law
  • In connection the sale, joint venture or other transfer of some or all of its company or assets, subject to the provisions of this Privacy Notice
  • To investigate or address actual or suspected fraud or other illegal activities
  • To exercise its legal rights, including enforcement of the Terms of Use for this site or another contract
  • To affiliated Pearson companies and other companies and organizations who perform work for Pearson and are obligated to protect the privacy of personal information consistent with this Privacy Notice
  • To a school, organization, company or government agency, where Pearson collects or processes the personal information in a school setting or on behalf of such organization, company or government agency.


This web site contains links to other sites. Please be aware that we are not responsible for the privacy practices of such other sites. We encourage our users to be aware when they leave our site and to read the privacy statements of each and every web site that collects Personal Information. This privacy statement applies solely to information collected by this web site.

Requests and Contact

Please contact us about this Privacy Notice or if you have any requests or questions relating to the privacy of your personal information.

Changes to this Privacy Notice

We may revise this Privacy Notice through an updated posting. We will identify the effective date of the revision in the posting. Often, updates are made to provide greater clarity or to comply with changes in regulatory requirements. If the updates involve material changes to the collection, protection, use or disclosure of Personal Information, Pearson will provide notice of the change through a conspicuous notice on this site or other appropriate way. Continued use of the site after the effective date of a posted revision evidences acceptance. Please contact us if you have questions or concerns about the Privacy Notice or any objection to any revisions.

Last Update: November 17, 2020