About Martin

Martin Rides has 35 years’ experience in the world of Data & Direct Mail. He has worked across many areas of the industry including agencies, mail production and data bureaux. After 9 years running a specialist Direct Mail consulting practice, Martin returned to The Software Bureau as Managing Director in 2015.

5 New Cygnus Customers in 5 Weeks

By |2018-11-06T10:39:26+00:00December 5th, 2017|

“When we were looking for a solution Cygnus and The Software Bureau came up again and again.” Andrew Wells of Media Five joins 4 other clients in the last 5 weeks who have chosen Cygnus data processing software from The Software Bureau. 2017 has seen significant growth from existing clients expanding their use of Cygnus and new clients choosing the data processing software. With these 5 new additions to the Cygnus user base, the pace of investment in data processing doesn’t seem to be slowing down. We asked some of our newest users to tell us what swayed them to choose Cygnus.   GDPR Compliance The General Data Protection Regulation comes into force in May 2018 and for the first [...]

Introducing SwiftCore – Cloud Data Processing

By |2018-11-06T10:39:44+00:00December 1st, 2017|

“What if we could take everything our Cygnus clients love about Embedded Suppression. All the files in one place, control over the sequence of matches, no negotiations with individual file owners. And make it all available to developers in the cloud?” It’s November 2016 and the product team at The Software Bureau are meeting to discuss the roadmap for Swift and Cygnus. An unprecedented silence falls upon the room while everyone reflects on Andy Benson’s challenge. Seconds later and the room has erupted into a frenzy of noise and excitement. Developers are frantically drawing system diagrams on the white board and talking about Azure Cloud, Serverless tech, Planet Scale processing, data chunking and NoSQL databases. The commercial team are contemplating [...]

A Practical Guide to GDPR Compliance for Processors

By |2018-12-18T15:57:59+00:00October 18th, 2017|

If your business takes possession of personal information such as a list of named individuals to be mailed or cleansed, then chances are you will need to make changes to your business to become compliant with GDPR. Organisations who collect, store and ‘own’ data are classified as data controllers, whereas organisations who take custody and use the data for example to print and send a direct mail campaign are classified as data processors. As of May 2018 data processors such as mailing houses, printers and data bureaux will be subject to many of the same new legal obligations enforced upon data controllers. Failing to adequately prepare your business for GDPR increases the risk of fines, but will also likely cost [...]

Central Mailing Invest in Cygnus from The Software Bureau

By |2018-11-06T10:39:57+00:00October 12th, 2017|

About Central Mailing Services Ltd With 60 staff, 3 sites and 25 years under its belt, Central Mailing is a prominent player in the direct mail industry. The £7+ million turnover business provides end-to-end direct mail facilities to predominantly Education, Charity and Performing Arts clients. Richard Morrow, Sales Director of Central Mailing points to a strategy of continuous investment in technology and equipment as the winning formula for prolonged growth. Central Mailing provides complementary data health checks to clients alongside a full range of data processing functions within their in-house data bureau. A team of 10 data professionals process in excess of 70 jobs per day handling everything from the standard deduplication and sortation through to data hygiene work combining [...]

Why Data Suppression is Key to Compliance with GDPR

By |2018-11-06T10:40:07+00:00May 25th, 2017|

DataIQ recently teamed up with Cygnus Embedded Suppression contributor, The Ark to produce a Whitepaper discussing data suppression and GDPR. The Whitepaper puts forth the message that deceased suppression will effectively become a legal requirement come May 2018 when GDPR comes into force. While both the legislation itself and the guidelines from ICO don’t go quite so far as naming deceased suppression as a legal obligation to achieve compliance, DataIQ make the argument that failing to undertake deceased suppression increases the likelihood of a technical breach. Falling foul of the ICO for a technical breach can cost organisations as much as 2% of group turnover (find out more about GDPR here). So how do Suppression files help organisations achieve compliance [...]

Winning new clients with Royal Mail

By |2018-11-06T10:40:24+00:00April 12th, 2017|

Since its privatisation in late 2015 Royal Mail have become more proactive in their approach to growing the use of mail. Mailmark is of course the most prominent scheme introduced by Royal Mail in recent years, however one of the postage providers lesser known programmes is Mail Made Easy. An introducer programme aimed at connecting first time mail users with direct mail providers. Since its inception the scheme has led to the introduction of 600 organisations to direct mail providers, 75% of which become regular direct mail users. If you provide direct mail services and you are looking for a zero cost marketing channel, this scheme is very much worth considering. How it Works A generous discount of up to [...]

Free Online Mailsort Software Arrives 27/03/2017

By |2018-11-06T10:40:18+00:00March 21st, 2017|

Sorting mail to achieve postal discounts is a fundamental activity of every mailing house, print business or corporate print room needing to send bulk mail. It can however be a real rigmarole to get started with sortation. The need to invest in software and expertise for data preparation and artwork manipulation can itself quickly run into the tens of £000’s. This price tag and the complexity for organisations to get into direct mail can be prohibitive. That is why we are introducing MyMailing.co.uk. What is MyMailing? MyMailing.co.uk is a free to use online postal sortation service for all Royal Mail Retail bulk mail discount schemes with the exception of Mailmark (for now). The aim of MyMailing is simple. Make achieving [...]

Come on ICO, give us guidance and clarity! Give us a chance…

By |2018-11-06T10:40:34+00:00February 24th, 2017|

By now every fundraiser in the land will be aware of the ICO’s draconian stance on wealth screening, data appending and data matching following the recent Fundraising and Regulatory Compliance conference in Manchester. The bow waves from this conference are going to be immense not just for the charity sector, but for marketers in general, if the ICO continues to be allowed to interpret the Data Protection Act in this manner. And make no mistake – this is purely an interpretation of the DPA; it is entirely subjective. One person’s ‘fair’ is another person’s ‘unfair’. It is for this reason that for those of us in the data industry that have worked incredibly hard with fundraisers over the past three [...]

A guide for fundraisers to the thorny issue of direct marketing compliance

By |2018-11-06T10:40:41+00:00September 28th, 2016|

Fundraising is the lifeblood of any charitable organisation. Without it the organisation ceases to exist. However, it has never been harder for fundraisers to raise money. Donation levels are down but the number of registered charities is rising. Competition is fierce and marketing is one of the most effective ways of building brand and cause awareness which has a proven correlation with donation levels. The problem is that marketing itself is a minefield. Seemingly every week a new proposal or legislative framework is mooted making it extremely difficult to keep track of what is and isn’t allowed. FPS, The Digital Economy Bill, GDPR and a new ICO are just a few of the issues charity marketers are currently facing – [...]

Lean DM – Focus On Error Reduction and Increased Revenues

By |2016-12-28T14:26:33+00:00September 6th, 2016|

We can all recount those horrible moments when we realise a mailing has gone wrong. If you are lucky the job hasn’t left the building, but invariably the first you know about it is when you receive that dreaded, irate call from the client. Then comes that sickening feeling while you retrace the steps of the job only to find the error occurred in data preparation. During a particularly high pressure week, one of the data processing team accidentally sorted the surname column of a data file independently of the other columns and every mailer was sent with an incorrect surname. With many mail producers these high impact errors can have huge financial consequences and cripple the reputation of the [...]