Overview of MCH Data Compilation Methodologies
MCH Strategic Data has been in the business of compiling comprehensive, high-quality institution databases for over 50 years. We are located in Sweet Springs, Missouri, which is the primary base for our compilation and research efforts. Our USA compiling team of more than 30 employees, many of whom have decades of experience at MCH, constitute the heart and soul of MCH and are the repository of the company’s knowledge and experience. Contrary to the practice of the other compilers who primarily outsource their compiling, our U.S. based team derives many benefits: our compiling staff meet many of the customers who tour our facilities; they know our sales staff well and are aware of marketplace needs. In fact, some of our best and most confident sales and customer service staff have come from our compiling group. They know the effort that it takes to maintain a high-quality database.
Compiling is much more than phoning institutions and adding, deleting, or verifying names and attributes. The databases MCH maintains are highly organized and structured, meaning for example, that we maintain parent-child relationships, schools and their district parents, childcare centers and their chain headquarters, and others; the data we collect must be maintained uniformly across the databases even if not maintained uniformly by the institutions themselves. Our goal is that any particular piece of data should be compiled on every applicable institution so the database is “complete” and uniform from record to record.
Many of our databases need multiple compiling sources and campaigns to fill out the records. While we collect data by phone where we can, not all data is available through a phone call. We find the data from other sources and at other times. MCH databases are essentially living things. When one of our customers gets data from MCH, they are getting a snapshot of the database at that moment. If they order the same data a week or a month later, the snapshot will be different.
Another area where our experience and expertise matters is in our knowledge of the distinct characteristics of the different types of institutions we collect data about. Although MCH maintains one actual super database, our institutions have different sets of attributes and job function structures. Think for a moment about the contrast in types of jobs and attributes at a school district and a hospital. The decision makers—superintendents and doctors—have different types of jobs and attributes—reading classes in schools versus obstetrics departments in hospitals. It is important to know which of the jobs and which of the attributes are the important ones for our customers. Experience is essential.
Geospatial attributes add another dimension to compiling. MCH has geospatial products (Infinite Access) and customers who use our data in geospatial applications like regulatory compliance and emergency notification. Geo-coding is another area with its own set of specialized characteristics.
MCH also must remain compliant with postal, fax, and email regulations.
The world of “big data,” the endless streams of information generated by the web, has also changed the nature of compiling. The pace of innovation at MCH has accelerated as we keep up with new sources of data and new demands from customers. That’s our job and that’s what half of us spend our time doing.