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Avid Puts a Wrap on Successful Information Quality Initiative

  • July 01 2002, 1:00am EDT
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REVIEWER: Chad Wright, IS applications manager of Avid Technology, Inc.

BACKGROUND: Avid Technology, Inc. delivers the solutions that Make, Manage and Move Media. As a recognized digital standard for professionals who make the world's media ­ from video, audio and film to animation, special effects and streaming media ­ Avid's products are used to make more television and news shows, commercials, music videos and CDs, corporate/industrial productions and major motion pictures combined than any other nonlinear editing manufacturer in the world. Building on its award-winning heritage, Avid is extending its reach by redefining how digital media is shared, stored and distributed. To manage today's increasingly rich collection of dynamic media, Avid provides powerful servers, networks and media tools to help customers search files, share media and collaborate on new productions, both locally and globally. Avid's solutions also empower users to easily move media, whether on air, over cable or satellite or through the Internet. The company is headquarted in Tewksbury, Massachusetts.

PLATFORMS: Avid uses the Firstlogic Information Quality Suite in an environment consisting of SAP R/3 v4.6c managed by an Informix v7.31 database running on HP/UX Enterprise Servers. For CRM, Avid utilizes Onyx v4.51 and Microsoft SQL Server 6.5 running on Compaq NT servers. Avid manages its 50GB data warehouse with SAP BW v2.1c and Informix v7.31 running on Compaq NT servers. Currently, the data warehouse supports 75 users worldwide.

PROBLEM SOLVED: Avid wanted to close the loop between our SAP R/3 and Onyx systems because we were losing visibility to customer information as prospects were converted to sales and as data moved between our SAP R/3 and Onyx systems. In addition, Avid wanted to incorporate an information quality process into our new enterprise data warehouse environment.

PRODUCT FUNCTIONALITY: For Avid, Firstlogic software cleanses, standardizes, consolidates and matches SAP R/3 and Onyx customer data sources before the data is loaded into our data warehouse. This enables us to create a single, comprehensive view of each customer or prospect.

STRENGTHS: Although Avid is currently using Firstlogic IQ Suite in a batch environment, we anticipate incorporating the product's real-time features at some later date. In addition, the ability to incorporate our own custom-defined matching rules at any time is a powerful feature as well. We have been able to eliminate 15 percent duplicate data contained in our Onyx system. The ability to generate detailed job summary reports is a key feature for us. We have been able to do some additional analytics on subsets of data to help illustrate where large numbers of duplicates existed or where general name and address scrubbing was appropriate. Our entire data cleansing operation ­ which we perform weekly ­ is completed in less than one hour. We developed the initial data cleansing application in less than two weeks, although we continue to refine it over time. Finally, the product is very easy to learn and use.

WEAKNESSES: We would like to see a more cost-effective solution for international records.

SELECTION CRITERIA: Avid conducted an extensive research and acquisition program that included the leading data quality software products performing an extensive matching exercise. We wanted the ability to match customer records between SAP R/3 ­ which we use for financials, manufacturing, sales and distribution ­ with Onyx, our CRM system. Avid asked each vendor to match customer data on name and address, then by product and then match it by date. We wanted the ability to look at a lead that came into our Onyx system for a particular product on a specific day and how that might compare with an order that might have come into our SAP R/3 system 30, 60 or 90 days later. Firstlogic Information Quality Suite not only met the match requirements, but far exceeded our expectations as well.

DELIVERABLES: Avid's Onyx sales lead data is run through Firstlogic IQ Suite where it cleans address information, standardizes names and identifies duplicates. The cleansed Onyx company data is matched with company names in our SAP R/3 database, thus enabling us to tie our leads back to sales in the data warehouse. This provides our marketing group with a single view of customer information that they were not able to achieve previously because of our disparate systems.

VENDOR SUPPORT: Our experience with Firstlogic ­ from pre-sales through our current dealings with the technical support staff ­ has been highly professional and extremely positive. In addition, Firstlogic conducted an extremely successful on-site training session where a preliminary information quality process plan was developed.

DOCUMENTATION: The documentation is comprehensive and easy to read.

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