Founded in 1852, the Michigan Education Association (MEA) is a self-governing education association representing approximately 120,000 educators working throughout Michigan State. The association utilizes data to organize bargaining units, prepare invoicing, and resolve member issues. The association leverages data from several sources, including flat files and CSV files with over 8 million rows.
MEA outsourced its invoicing to another company. This third-party company sends invoices to MEA’s customers and shares the data via a zip folder on an SFTP server. The file is then downloaded, unzipped, and loaded to an MS SQL transactional system. The zip folder contains different types of structured and unstructured files, including CSV, PDFs and flat files. Without an automation tool, the team at MEA had to download the individual files, build flows, and execute the integration process manually. The users would often have to handle files holding up to millions of records, making the entire integration process extremely time consuming. This also meant that invoicing reports could only be generated once employees were physically available at work to download files and execute the integration process. Filtering relevant data out of files with millions of records was also a challenge. MEA only wanted to insert records that had been changed or updated into the MS SQL transactional system. This took a lot of time and effort since the organization lacked a tool to facilitate the process.
“We did not have a data warehouse in place and were not using any ETL software. I came from a previous employer where I had used a software to set up and maintain the data warehouse for reporting purposes. That software was way too expensive for this company, so I researched and found Astera.”
– Gwen Conarton
Michigan Education Association (MEA) represents over 120,000 educators in the state of Michigan to facilitate continuing education and resolve member issues with data-driven solutions
With Centerprise, MEA was able to automate the extraction of millions of records from CSV and flat files and integrate the data for reporting.
MEA now schedules their data extraction and integration process overnight ensuring that employees have access to reporting ready data at the beginning of each workday.
Enter Astera Centerprise
After conducting their research, MEA found Astera Centerprise to be the most capable of fulfilling their needs.
Centerprise is a high-performance, scalable data management platform that allows businesses to meet today’s advanced business needs. Powered by an enterprise-grade parallel-processing engine, Centerprise offers data extraction, transformation, integration, and data warehousing all through a single platform.
MEA chose Centerprise for its ease of use and robust automation capabilities, which allowed them to eliminate manual work and dramatically speed up its data integrations. Instead of waiting for an employee to manually execute the process at work, MEA used Centerprise to complete the integration process overnight and have data available in a report-ready format before the start of the workday. This saved the team hours that were spent in manually downloading and executing integration flows.
Centerprise also helped MEA build a fully functional data warehouse to consolidate data and access a holistic view of its invoicing process. The team loaded data from the MS SQL transactional system to the MySQL data warehouse. From there, the data was integrated with Salesforce CRM and Salesforce Marketing Cloud to turbocharge MEA’s marketing efforts. Prior to implementing Centerprise, MEA was relying on flat files to import data to Salesforce. The team was relieved to realize that the Centerprise platform could extract usable data from PDFs and integrate it with multiple formats with great ease.
“Overall, Astera’s Centerprise has allowed us to go from no data warehouse and no automated processes to a fully functioning data warehouse. After creating the data flows and workflows, scheduling them, and the initial data validation, Centerprise just runs like a well-oiled machine.”
– Gwen Conarton