In my last article, I had discussed how we need to look at a system that could give us more benefits and features than Excel.
Can we have data systems where we have advanced levels of data processing, updation, retrievals, modifications and custom applications for generating reports and other outputs?
A basic question that comes to mind here is -- why should we know all this? We are media professionals, and this is tech.
But we also deal with impossibly large amounts of data. If it gets automated at the data collection stage, it makes it easier for us to get our reports and analytics in place. While this is subject matter for IT experts, it’s good to know the basics of what we can do with our data. So here goes!
Let’s start with the basic question and one that we know the answer of.
What is a database?
A database is an electronic system that allows data to be stored, accessed, manipulated and updated.
It can be as simple as an online telephone directory or as complex as the database of any social media application.
What can a database do?
Data is organised in rows, columns and tables (much like Excel) but better. You can
1) Search and retrieve records
2) Update records in bulk.
3) Cross-reference records in different tables.
4) Perform complex calculations on the dataset
Data gets updated, expanded and deleted as new information is added. All this is not possible in Excel.
Since databases have large amounts of data, they need a system to impose a logical, structured organisation. These systems are called Database Management Systems (DBMS).
A DBMS act as ‘connecting bridge’ between the database and the user and DBMS actually understands the queries and helps database to understand the requirements.
This is how it works:
When you’re using a database, the data is not stored on your computer’s hard drive but in a server (cloud or physical). Using a database management system (DBMS), calls/queries are made to retrieve the information. This part is called the back-end. To present the data in a consequential way to the user, web developers create a web site and easy-to-use database applications. This part is called the front-end.
The structure looks somewhat like this:
And it is here that it starts getting interesting
Custom applications can be developed, which can transform into business intelligence tools. Or simple reports generators. Or trackers.
I can think of several applications that can be developed from a media perspective.
*Competitive reports generator (by category, brand, market)
*Campaign implementation tracker
*Reports for buying
1) Channel viewership tracker
2) Deal consumption trackers
3) Spends estimation
Reports for media houses
1) Media landscape overview of viewership and revenue
2) Channel performance
3) FCT tracking
3) Deal templates automation
4) Yield management and tracking
This needs a shift in our approach to dealing with data. A little effort and energy spent into developing databases and subsequent applications can go a long way in simplifying the quality of work that goes into making every report.
In my next article, let’s discuss some custom applications that can be developed with media data that will minimise the manual weekly efforts that are currently being invested.
(Disclaimer: The opinions expressed in this article are those of the author. The facts and opinions appearing in the article do not reflect the views of BestMediaInfo.com and we do not assume any responsibility or liability for the same.)