Typically clients have their data spread out over many data sources, but would prefer to have their data integrated. For example, data problems exist when there are multiple addresses stored in multiple locations for members. ICON is very experienced with flat files as well as relational databases and understands the need for data normalization. Another reason to integrate data is to build a database that can be used for reporting and management information. Because pension systems must gather and report certain data elements to their actuaries, it is vitally important to have high quality data.
ICON typically integrates data into a Target Staging Database (TSD), which is a software receptacle that serves multiple purposes. First, it segregates data project activity from ongoing production activity, with the client responsible for writing extract programs that pull the data from the legacy systems. ICON then incorporates the data into the TSD in a format that retains the legacy characteristics when possible however, some transformation may be necessary. Second, the TSD becomes the location where data analysis and profiling occurs. Third, the TSD may be the location where cleansed data is stored and finally, the TSD, which is usually an SQL or Oracle database, is retained as a historical dataset once data conversion occurs. This allows clients to dismantle and sunset legacy systems while still retaining a copy of what data looked like in those systems at the point of conversion.