REVIEWER: Jon Gerush, manager, Data Integration and Management, American Heart Association.

BACKGROUND: The American Heart Association is a national voluntary health agency whose mission is building healthier lives, free of cardiovascular diseases and stroke. The nonprofit organization is committed to fighting heart disease and stroke and raising awareness of these diseases. As part of its mission, the organization focuses on specific causes designed to help people achieve a heart-healthy lifestyle.

PLATFORMS: Windows XP and Windows Server 2003.

PROBLEM SOLVED: After years of adding new systems to track customer information (including health care professionals, donors, committee members and newsletter subscribers), the organization faced a customer data integration (CDI) problem. The IT infrastructure included multiple customer data stores for different business units. With multiple applications containing more than 14 million names - often housed in disparate, disconnected systems - the organization had no reliable way to manage donors across these systems. The staff had difficulty reconciling these disparate views or understanding an individual’s true value across the organization. With this effort, they could effectively work toward a centralized repository of customer information that gave the organization the ability to put quality data into the hands of business users. The DataFlux Integration Server provides the ability to extend rules and policies created in dfPower Studio throughout the enterprise.

PRODUCT FUNCTIONALITY: dfPower Studio allowed business users to create advanced matching rules using the system’s advanced fuzzy matching capabilities, seeking out duplicate records and consolidating customer data into a single master record. dfPower Studio also helped enhance the value of contact information through standardizing and validating postal information, assigning gender to customer records and moving information such as prefix, suffix and lineage into the proper fields. With DataFlux solutions in place, the American Heart Association is transforming its customer information into high quality data. And, by deduplicating data across systems, the organization had a real foundation for more in-depth master data management (MDM) efforts.

STRENGTHS: Through an easy-to-use and intuitive interface, dfPower Studio helped staff understand data quality issues during profiling. The interface also allowed for the fast implementation of data quality and data integration jobs, which could then be embedded into other jobs. Finally, the functionality of the matching and clustering helped ease the process of duplicate elimination.

WEAKNESSES: Within the DataFlux software, error messages are not always appropriate and explanatory. Also, support for DataFlux Integration Server in UNIX could be enhanced.

SELECTION CRITERIA: While data quality functionality was focused on address standardization and duplicate identification rather than a classic CDI solution, the expectation was that any application selected should contribute to a future CDI implementation. The selected application needed to stand on its own and have proven value within and outside of CDI initiatives. The solution needed to be external to the enterprise applications (i.e., Siebel) so that it could be leveraged to improve data quality for several internal and external data sources. dfPower Studio and the DataFlux Integration Server met these needs.

DELIVERABLES: DataFlux technology is alleviating the organization’s duplicate customer data issues. The American Heart Association now manages more than 12 million customers in its Siebel systems with less than five percent overall duplicates. With this new, high quality set of data, the organization has begun to expose processes to other data stores, integrating these multiple databases to create a foundation for a true CDI initiative. For the American Heart Association, the decision to take a phased approach to MDM provided real benefits, as it allowed the organization to create a data quality and data integration framework that could drive both current and future data management efforts.

VENDOR SUPPORT: DataFlux always made the organization feel special. DataFlux staff was quick to respond to any inquiries through a combination of professional services, online support and the customer portal.

DOCUMENTATION: Training and documentation are thorough and available in hard copy, electronically and inside the application.

DataFlux dfPower Studio and DataFlux Integration Server
940 NW Cary Parkway Suite 201
Cary, NC 27519
(919) 447-3000

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