Centralized vs Distributed Data Validation

Should you implement all of your data validation services by partnering with a single vendor? We would love that, of course – particularly if your vendor is Service Objects. But some organizations look into distributing these services across multiple vendors. There are advantages and disadvantages to both centralized and distributed approaches, and in this article, we’ll explore both of these in detail.

Centralized approaches

A centralized approach means that your solutions all revolve around a single data validation company. In essence, all of your eggs would be in one basket. Going this route has various pros and cons associated with it. In the case of the Service Objects web services, some of these cons can be negated through a hybrid centralized-distributed solution.

Service Objects web services come in a variety of forms. In their simplest form, data validation can be done per data type. For instance, the DOTS Address Validation – US service focuses on validations within the United States. Similarly, DOTS Email Validation solely focuses on email validations. Individual APIs exist for each of the various types of contact information you would regularly find in your business workflows. We also provide composite services such as DOTS Lead Validation that take in multiple data points, validate each field individually, and also cross-reference them to give you a big picture image of your data’s quality.

A fully centralized approach would involve using a single company and a single solution that validates all of your data points. The perk of this solution lies in the ability of the company to cross-reference all of the data between itself. Their data validation expertise can paint a clearer picture than trying to perform all of the data science in house, or at the very least save on the development time and expense of doing it in house.

A concern that may arise with a fully centralized solution is having strong ties to a single point of failure. This failure could materialize in forms such as degraded data quality, reliability, security, or even company stability (especially important in these uncertain times). This is one area where we have an advantage: Service Objects has the industry’s only financially backed service level agreement, guaranteeing 99.999% uptime – a promise we have kept for over 15 years and counting.

If you choose to obtain all of your services from Service Objects, you can have the benefit of all of the pros listed below while still having the option to distribute your data validations across individual APIs. If at any point you find that the validation quality is not what you want for a particular type of data, you have the option to change.

Pros:

  • Integrations – A single API or set of similar APIs are easier to integrate.
  • Customer care and technical support – When problems arise your points of contact can be well established to help resolve issues quickly.
  • Uptime/reliability – Since the risk of failed validations is determined by a single provider, you want to choose a vendor with a high uptime guarantee.
  • Data quality and privacy – A company with high standards of quality and data privacy can be relied upon to keep your information as genuine, accurate, and up to date as possible.
  • Security – Security evaluations are easier without having to vet every data provider.

Cons:

  • Single point of failure – If your data provider encounters issues, this will propagate to each of your validations. This means uptime and support are critical considerations when selecting a vendor.

Distributed approaches

In this case, the validation of each of your data points is distributed across multiple vendors. This approach will reduce your reliance on a single data validation provider. The risks described under the fully centralized solution are reduced by going with this implementation. Your services can be widely distributed, however, there are cost overhead issues that should be addressed.

Pros:

  • No single point of failure – If a service fails, other services may not be impacted.

Cons:

  • Technical Support and Troubleshooting- When issues arise, there are multiple points that need to be reviewed and debugged.  Support from third-parties can quickly turn to finger-pointing rather than resolution.
  • Time and money – The cons of a distributed solution are generally seen as an increase in time. This overhead includes developer implementation time, network and security evaluation time, and NDA/SLA/purchase requisition time, to name a few. This time is multiplied by the number of different data providers you decide to go with.

If cost is no object, a distributed approach may fit your needs. However, in your data quality evaluations, you may find that all roads lead to the same place. If that is the case and you still feel the need to distribute your validations across vendors, you would be doing so artificially at the expense of quality.

Choosing what’s best for you

We realize there isn’t always one right answer to the question of choosing data validation services. It may make sense to have one-stop shopping and partner exclusively with us, for reasons ranging from our depth of services to our industry-leading 24/7/365 technical support. In other cases, it may make sense to pair our flagship services with specific vertical capabilities available elsewhere.

You might guess that we have an agenda in this debate, and in fact we do: we want all of our clients to have the best solutions possible for their needs. And our knowledgeable technical team is always happy to discuss possible solutions with you and your organization. Touch base with us anytime, and let us help you make the best decision for your situation.

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