Managing Data Resources
Case: Better data help Virgin Mobile Australia win the customer wars
Virgin mobile Australia is a major player in the Australian mobile industry. It had grown aggressively by pioneering new products and services, including a prepaid service that did not require a contract, free voice mail, and billing all calls by second. Other operators followed suit, leaving Virgin Mobile Australia wondering how it could maintain its competitive lead. The answer lay in making better use of the company’s data.
Senior management wanted a better picture of the Virgin Mobile’s customer base and how well the company was operating. This was no easy task. Virgin Mobile Australia had many different systems, each with different pieces of data that could solve only part of the puzzle. It had an enterprise system, a customer relationship system, and systems for prepaid cell phone service as well as service that was billed to customer each month. The company needed to develop a single enterprise wide view of the data in all of these systems to produce “one version of the truth”.
The company created a data warehouse that reorganized the data from all of these systems in a massive data base to produce the company wide information management required. The data warehouse runs on Oracle 9i database management software and was developed using Oracle 9i Designer to define the systems data model and Oracle 9i Warehouse builder to design the data warehouse. With the data warehouse, Virgin Mobile Australia can pull data from multiple systems together to obtain an integrated view of its customer and services. Every morning Virgin mobile executives can check indicators such as the number of new connections made the previous day, the demographic profile of new customers, and the handsets they purchased. Management can also find out the performance of each store and point of sales campaign, customer reaction to new products and services, and customer attrition rates. Most important, the warehouse provides data for monitoring customer usage in terms of the total minutes used each month and the revenue generated by each customer. Average revenue per user is a key performance indicator for this company to measure its success. All of these information helps Virgin Mobile react quickly to changes in a very dynamic market and improve its profitability. Organizing data in a traditional file environment
An effective information system provides users with accurate, timely, and relevant information. Accurate information is free of errors. Information is timely when it is available to decision makers when it is needed. Information is relevant when it is useful and appropriate for the types of work and decisions that require it. Contemporary systems store data that can provide useful information in computer files. When the files are properly arranged and maintained, users can easily store, access, modify, and retrieve the information they need.
File Organization Terms and Concepts
A computer system organizes data in a hierarchy that starts with a bits and bytes and progress to fields, records, files, and database.
Database: A group of related files make up a data base.
Files: A group of records of the same types is called file.
Record: A group of related fields comprise a record. A record describes an entity.
Fields: A grouping of characters into a word, a group of words, or a complete number is called a field.
Bytes: A group of bits, called a byte represents a single character, which can be a letter, a number, or another symbol.
Bits: A bit represents the smallest unit of data a computer can handle.
A record describes an entity. An entity is a person, place, thing, or event on which we store and maintain information. Every record in a file should contain at least one field that uniquely identifies that record so that the record can be retrieved or stored.
Problems with the traditional file system.
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