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AQA improves user adoption and marketing by creating data quality for Dynamics CRM

About AQA

AQA is an independent education charity and the largest provider of academic qualifications taught in schools and colleges in the UK. Their qualifications are also recognised and taught in 30 countries around the world.



AQA had a sizable and growing database. They had moved to Microsoft Dynamics CRM from the homegrown CRM but the data had not been cleansed, so they experienced several issues in their database that affected CRM user adoption. Some key issues included:

  • Duplicate data – 3-4 different records of the same person including:
    • Different roles e.g. Mr Smith who is a teacher, but also an examiner and invigilator. 
    • Different location – teacher may have moved schools
  • Lack of trust in CRM – employees started using their own spreadsheets, resulting in data in a variety of places
  • Inability to create targeted campaigns due to lack of data structures and incomplete information




Data8 followed a six stage process including:

  • Input - Using a read only login to AQA's MS Dynamics CRM, Data8's automated system extracted and loaded data directly into Data8’s data cleansing portal
  • Improve - Data structures and records were standardised, normalised and fortmatted to prepare the data ready for a full cleanse
  • Cleanse - The database was cleansed and verified using Data8’s technology  including contact information, life event data and verification against the TPS, CTPS and MPS
  • De-duplicate - Using Data8’s fuzzy matching technology with AQA’s specific needs, custom de-duplication rules were implemented
  • Merge - Duplicated records were merged without losing key information. Two types of record forms were created to accommodate for multiple roles
  • Output - Cleansed, verified, and merged data was inputted seamlessly back into CRM during the weekend to avoid user interruption

The process used by Data8:

  • Increased efficiency
  • Reduced workload from the client side
  • An ability to maintain all parent & child links in the data
  • Allows to merge using information such as last order, or amount of activity
  • Ensures when data is merged, an associated activity is not lost and it is rolled up to the master record



Since the custom cleanse and validation of AQA’s database by Data8, the following benefits have been identified:

  • A single view of each customer record in the database
  • Increased user adoption
  • Targeted marketing campaigns through simplified selection
  • Increased email delivery rates and decreased email bounce rates
  • Reduced costs and time spent contacting invalid records as 100,000 records were removed
  • New roles assigned based on rules
  • Revised governance processes introduced

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