Go green with CDI

Green Globe

How much paper was used to deliver three copies of your glossy brochure in the same household? Every tried to estimate the impact on our environment of all the undeliverable direct mailers? How much fuel consumption can be reduced when orders  delivery can effectely be grouped together by geographic location?

Being more environmentally friendly is going to be a huge topic in the next few years. Effective data quality and customer data integration can go a long way into making a difference. A totally business to how we look at investing in these areas at this moment.

Citizen Data Integration failed…

Just before the upcoming elections in the United States on November 4th many voters have fallen victim to incorrect voters registration. It might well involve over hundred thousands of voters.

The Help America Vote Act was passed in 2002 in order to prevent voter registration and voting counting problems which happened with the presidential elections in 2000. One of the measures was to create centralized databases, which allow voters to check their registrations. In rolling up and centralizing local databases to state databases many mishaps have occured. Resulting in thousands of voters who are now not eligible to vote. These people have to reestablish their eligibility to vote in the coming weeks.

Click here for the full article in the Washington Post.

Seven tips for success in implementing CDI

Jill Dyché, an expert on Customer Data Integration, was asked about the most common mistakes and obstacles when organizations want to implement CDI. For the complete article please follow this link. She came up with 7 very usefull tips:

1) Anticipate the saboteurs. With CDI there will be people in your organization claiming that “we already do that with our data warehouse/ODS/CRM system/toothpicks-and-glue.” Anticipate their arguments and educate them, offering deliberate examples of why they’re full of it. Nicely, of course.

2) Articulate more than one business problem that CDI can solve. You want to position your CDI effort as an ongoing program that can enable different business needs. If you position CDI as a one-trick pony (for instance, it can handle identity resolution), you’ll only be able to ride that horse for so long…

3) Know your functional requirements. It never ceases to amaze me how quickly companies want to enlist vendors. “We’ve gotten everyone in a room and we know what we need,” they explain as they cherry-pick brochures off of vendor websites and schedule proofs of concept (POC). Not so fast! At best, this is a well-intentioned attempt to fill in the blanks by talking to smart vendors. At worst, it’s tire-kicking in a vacuum. Unlike with business intelligence (BI), master data management (MDM) requires a huge and measured focus on functional requirements. Until you have your list in hand, you won’t be able to give the vendors what they need to deliver the goods.

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What’s the value of unique identifiers

In a survey by Human Inference processes were discovered to be the most challenging data quality aspect.

HI Survey Results
HI Survey Results

Since in processes often unique identifiers are used to identify customers, accounts or data in general the reliability of these identifiers influence the quality of your process. To avoid incorrect results and decisions a check of the data related to the identifiers is required. The illegal use of such an identifier leads to polluted data. A name-number-check should be implemented for e.g.:

  • bank account numbers
  • social security numbers
  • chamber of commerce numbers

The importance of persistent identification

A much overlooked issue in Customer Data Integration projects is “Persistent Identification”.

Persons and companies are very often identified using their address data. But, what do you do if a person has moved from address A to address B. One, thing you really don’t want is that the person is added to database as a new person (INSERT). From that moment a duplicate person or company resides in your system. This should be prevented, by creating searching indexes which include the current and the previous address of the persons and companies in your database. 

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Icesave? We need vdi!

The world is changing rapidly. We are becoming less loyal to our suppliers. Switching is easier than ever before. But the landscape of vendors is huge. We can not only do business with banks originated in the country you live in, but international banks are offering their services too. At sometimes interesting interest rates… But what do we know about these vendors? Do we keep track of them? Do we know that Icesave is a daughter company of Landsbanki? And if we do business with both, do we know our total risk when they collapse, as happened previous week? It is time for consumers to stand up, time to take control. We need the Single Vendor View! Let’s think about VDI: Vendor Data Integration!

Forrester Wave Finds Initiate Systems and Siperian at the Center of Customer Hubs

In addition to those two vendors, Dun & Bradstreet’s Purisma and Oracle UCM remain near the top of the research firm’s latest report.
By Lauren McKay – Posted Aug 11, 2008

No earth-shattering changes occurred in the latest Forrester Research Wave for Customer Hubs, according to analyst and report author Ray Wang. However, Forrester notes that the market remains in the early-adoption stage for full-blown customer hub solutions. Wang defines the goal of the customer hub segment’s goal in that it “operationalizes the acquisition, distribution, and management of customer information for the use in other systems.” Wang notes that the market is broadening and organizations — especially those with high-volume B2C data — will find that vendors have solutions geared for a company’s every need.
“The good news: Solutions have matured and work well in heterogeneous environments,” Wang writes. “The down side: Enterprises remain challenged with defining data governance and data quality policies while optimizing systems for an information supply chain.” Forrester bases its evaluation upon a product’s current offering, its market presence, and the strategy of the vendor producing it. Additionally, the research firm requires that customer hub vendors provide 20 customer references of live deployments. Wang points out that while some solutions are being implemented, a significant number of customer hub purchases remain on the shelf — either not yet deployed or remaining stagnant as part of a broader product suite.
Wang’s report shows Initiate Systems and Siperian leading the vendor pack. “In a virtual dead heat, both best-of-breed vendors widen the gap among their closest competitors by offering improved data stewardship capabilities, richer hierarchy management, stronger industry support, and greater support for third-party tools,” he writes. Wang refers to Siperian as “the smartest kid on the block,” praising the vendor’s expertise in data acquisition, data cleansing, relationship and hierarchy management, event management, reference data management, data stewardship, and architecture. As for Initiate, Wang says that the vendor has delivered the most significant research-and-development gains in the past 18 months and also has the largest number of productive live customers.
IBM, Dun & Bradstreet’s Purisma, and Oracle Siebel UCM follow close behind in the Leader zone. Wang notes that IBM’s dot on the board has gotten bigger, saying that customer data is a clear strength for the company. Wang also writes that D&B’s recent acquisition of Purisma has helped the organization to bridge gaps in its offerings and go to market with a strong, global B2B solution. Additionally, he points out that Purisma scored in the top rankings for satisfaction in the reference surveys.
Wang says there are a lot of alternatives for companies to sort through in the customer hub market: Just behind the leaders on the Wave report are Sun Microsystems with its open-source master data management options, Oracle CDH, Scotland-based VisionWare, SAS Institute’s DataFlux, and SAP. “Customer hubs make sure CRM is successful and that’s why it is so important to evaluate the [technologies] underlying the CRM processes,” he explains. ” ‘Is the data helping me understand how to cross-sell and upsell? And how do we target our customers?’ ” He goes on to say that CDI vendors seem to have thought through every customer scenario an organization might face. “At this point in the market I think the technology is ahead of the customer,” Wang says.