REVIEWER: Steele Arbeeny, chief technology officer for Alliant Data.

BACKGROUND: Alliant Data is a credit reporting agency for direct marketers. Alliant's databases predict profitable consumer behaviors based on past transaction history, enabling campaign-specific insight on more than 110 million direct marketing customers. Alliant provides a risk score for potential target consumers. Firms use these scores to segment their lists and focus their efforts on contacts with high predictive profitability and low risk for better campaign performance.


PROBLEM SOLVED: Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) standards require Alliant to incorporate data quality processes that provide auditable results. Alliant receives millions of historical transactions from direct marketing organizations indicating responses to programs and order history. We use these hundreds of source feeds and create a single customer view that accurately describes each of the 200 million consumers that have been contacted by our customers over time as part of any direct marketing program. When Alliant's customers submit lists of potential consumers for upcoming campaigns, Alliant appends scores created using proprietary statistical modeling based on the single customer view, which provides the complete history of any given consumer. Within as little as one hour, we turn around appended scores for their customers - lists that may contain millions of potential names for upcoming campaigns. A few percentage points in a credit score can be a major differentiator for predictive scores. Direct marketers lose billions of dollars every year in fraudulent responses. Our data quality process identifies good versus bad prospects, and it can equal millions of dollars for our clients.

PRODUCT FUNCTIONALITY: Our predictive scores rely upon super-accurate name and address standardization and matching provided by Trillium Software's TS Quality product. We first cleanse and standardize incoming data, then validate addresses against postal standards. Next, we identify single addresses, households and individuals (three levels of matching) with performance that allows us to match files of a quarter million records within one hour. Legally, we need to be able to explain to an individual why he or she may have been declined credit or a promotional offer. Therefore, we need immediate insight into a person's record to see how their score was generated. TS Quality provides an auditable path to meet compliance standards.

STRENGTHS: We required a data quality solution that not only performs at a high level, but also provides native flexibility to accomplish our specific business requirements. TS Quality allows us to configure the matching the way we want it. The straightforward configuration through settings files also makes it much easier to change our processes over time, without resulting in time-consuming work-arounds that inhibit performance. Additionally, the software's ability to be customized as a back-end service as a real-time API gave our programmers the flexibility to use it as a building block for additional custom solutions we designed.

WEAKNESSES: TS Quality is designed to work with flat files in a batch process, and given the size of our files, we would prefer for future versions of the product to read directly from the database.

SELECTION CRITERIA: We ultimately selected Trillium Software based on its matching quality and its monthly updates to postal and census data. Also, TS Quality runs on many platforms. Knowing that Trillium runs on Linux ensures we won't encounter any issues around transitioning to a new platform. Performance, auditability and flexibility were three considerations beyond standard data quality functions that led us to select Trillium Software's TS Quality product.

DELIVERABLES: Trillium Software is used as a component in a several-step batch process that matches and scores the file and  delivers it back to the mailer. TS Quality produces lists of matched records at the address, household and individual levels which are fed into later steps of the process. Additionally, it provides performance reporting to users within Alliant on how many records were processed in a given time frame.

VENDOR SUPPORT: Trillium Software has been a true partner throughout the course of our relationship. From the first proof of concept through implementation, they exhibited their commitment to us.

DOCUMENTATION: The documentation for installation is well written and easy to understand.

TS Quality 6.0
Harte-Hanks Trillium Software
25 Linnell Circle
Billerica, MA 01821
(978) 436-8900

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