Data exchange

Now more than ever, time is money

Ashley Mulligan

Posted 11/1/2022

The International Monetary Fund (IMF) describes the global economic outlook as "gloomy and uncertain," ushering in a multitude of top-down directives from corporate leadership, all with the same objective: find new ways to save money.

As tech companies tighten their belts and reduce headcount while growth targets and customer demands stay the same, words from a famous statesman, scientist, and philosopher live rent free in my head: "Remember that time is money".

If time is money, then you can buy time and increase revenue by tackling the challenge of data exchange, a critical business process that is universally arduous and time consuming, causing delayed customer go-lives, cost overruns, and even lost clients.

The time suck

Imagine a distributor acquires a new business partner and needs to integrate thousands of rows of product data with its own platform. Or a SaaS (Software as a Service) provider that needs to populate its new cloud application with offline customer data. Or an insurance provider that needs to import employee data to provide benefits packages. All of these situations will require data exchange, a process that can take thousands of hours to complete at significant cost. This tedious process can delay product and service launches, or worse — result in lost opportunities altogether.

Historically, companies have chosen to solve this problem by building their own data import solutions. But the time and resources required to build, update, and support custom software applications only adds to the burden on a business’s resources.

Buying more time

Data exchange, whether for its relative invisibility or its seeming lack of sparkle, fails to garner the attention it deserves. But make no mistake: in a business environment where data collection is the new analog to the gold rush, businesses are reconsidering how they think about the time and money they spend on this process.

SaaS, cloud computing, the Internet of Things (IoT): all of these would be nothing without the data they run on. To that end, businesses are acquiring and sharing data at unprecedented levels. Yet, as the technology behind cars, vacuum cleaners, and media streams is updated regularly, the data that empowers these devices and services are still exchanged in a format that predates personal computers by a decade: CSV (comma separated values) files. 

That's right — the "new gold" is exchanged in flat files.

From newly minted online shops that need to upload a product catalog to distributors and multinational consulting firms sharing highly sensitive business financials with a client, Flatfile takes the toil out of data preparation to accelerate time-to-value and increase productivity, all while adhering to the highest international standards for secure data exchange.

All of this leads to an extremely fast return on investment (as little as six months) and a continued savings over the life of the business. It has the promise to get businesses through economic downturns and sustain those savings in better times ahead.