Last month's column began a discussion of how to select a customer matching system. This month's column continues that discussion by explaining how to make a decision based on test results.

Run the tests. In most cases, the tests will actually be run by the vendor. This is faster and easier than installing the software in house. You will still need to provide instructions regarding matching rules and household definition. You will also want to get some idea of the effort involved in setting up the system. It may not be practical to watch the vendor's staff set up your particular job because the work is performed in small steps by different people over several days or weeks; however, it should be possible to walk through the operation and view each task performed on active data. This will give some idea of the system features and staff skills involved. It should also be possible to get statistics on the computer resources and staff time consumed working on your job.

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