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Ebiquita Adds Accuracy and Flexibility to Consumer Suppression Screening Services Using SSA-NAME3

  • July 01 2004, 1:00am EDT

REVIEWER: Lindsey Tittensor, IT manager for Ebiquita.

BACKGROUND: Ebiquita is a data cleansing and acquisition specialist in the UK. Providing services to approximately 400 of the country's leading companies, our services help to maximize the effectiveness of direct mail and telemarketing campaigns. With clients ranging from financial institutions to charities, our data cleansing systems remove the records of deceased and unreachable persons from the company's consumer prospect databases and also help in updating customer records to keep track of current customers.

PLATFORMS: HP Servers, Microsoft Windows 2000 OS and Microsoft SQL Server 2000.

PROBLEM SOLVED: Screening, cleansing and updating consumer data, whether it is prospect lists or customer databases, is good practice for all companies who use direct mail or telemarketing as part of their marketing strategy. For our clients, the quality of the match is the most important part of choosing the right bureau. Our core business revolves around matching names and addresses correctly to ensure we only remove records from client data when required. Due to increasing fraudulent activity (for example, where individuals are assuming the identities of deceased persons), our matching must be accurate to ensure that only potential risks, not genuine applicants, are identified by our systems.

PRODUCT FUNCTIONALITY: SSA-NAME3 is a name and address matching tool that is implemented into our bureau software, which allows us to match a client's customer database to multiple suppression files and update the customer database. The SSA-NAME3 software creates special fuzzy keys on the data we hold in house which we then use as an index and key ranges on our clients' data that enable us to find candidates that could potentially match the customer record. When the candidates have been retrieved, the software compares each one in turn with the customer record and produces a score. By calibrating threshold values for each of our internal data sources, any candidate records that are above the threshold values are declared a match on that internal data source. If none of the candidates are above our threshold value, then no match is returned and the customer record is cleared. Fuzzy matching allows us to ensure matches are found even when people have used nicknames, spelled names incorrectly or used abbreviations.

STRENGTHS: The definition of a match differs greatly from one company to the next. Our clients have become increasingly complex in defining their matching criteria, and we need to ensure that our systems have the flexibility to offer a range of matching criteria. SSA-NAME3 has this flexibility, allowing different universes to be supported with different match criteria and rules. SSA-NAME3 can be tailored to the type of data being processed. SSA offers continuous support including upgrades and fixes and is always available to help with advice on incorporating their software into our new product developments.

WEAKNESSES: Accommodating new universes when the matching requirements differ from SSA's packaged rules is not trivial and takes time. To do this, we require the help of SSA.

SELECTION CRITERIA: We previously used a different matching product that is available in the UK, but when the two products were compared for our needs, we found that SSA-NAME3 gave us the highest degree of flexibility - especially by giving us much more control over the matching process. SSA-NAME3 allows us to show our clients that we can deliver the accuracy they need.

DELIVERABLES: SSA-NAME3 allows us to be confident that the "cleaned" data we send back to our clients has been screened effectively and that we have not unnecessarily removed records from their database.

VENDOR SUPPORT: The support offered by SSA is very good. We are at the end of a full system redevelopment, and SSA has been available to offer guidance in the implementation of SSA-NAME3. They continue to work with us to increase the effectiveness of their product in our system.

DOCUMENTATION: Using only the software and available documentation, our offshore team of developers was able to implement the standard product with no consultation from SSA. When the implementation was reviewed by SSA staff, they were happy that our team of developers had used the product correctly. Although implementing the product from the documentation provided is possible, I would recommend consultation during installation.

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