CATEGORY: Data Quality

REVIEWER: James C. "Chris" Dekle, president of MarketTouch.

BACKGROUND: MarketTouch is a data-driven database marketing company specializing in comprehensive, custom- tailored direct marketing solutions for its clients. MarketTouch delivers superior data, multidimensional analytics and leading IT technology to maximize marketing efficiency. MarketTouch was formed and is managed by senior executives with 100+ combined years of experience in consumer and B2B marketing, including multidimensional targeted campaigns for Fortune 100 companies. We drive more than 1.6 billion consumer records into the world of direct marketing annually from our proprietary Real America Database and from other valuable data sets, including credit bureau prescreen data. Our primary markets include banking and bank card issuers, insurance, mortgage, telecommunications, travel and leisure and hundreds of direct marketers representing many industries.

PLATFORMS: MarketTouch runs Firstlogic's Information Quality Suite in a distributed multiprocessor environment, consisting of eight-way Compaq and other multiprocessor servers running Microsoft Windows 2000 Advanced Server. We manage our multiterabyte Real America Database with Oracle8i, custom developed software and commercial packages residing on high-performance EMC storage systems in NAS and SAN environments.

PROBLEM SOLVED: The key to making data useful is not only how accurate, relevant and current data is, but also how well you assemble that data to create a single unified view of each consumer. Our crown jewel, the Real America Database (RADB), is a multiterabyte national database compiled from 18 different data sources, including self-reported, opt-in e- mail data, financially oriented real estate records, many public filings, government records, court records and association records, just to name a few. The RADB, with more than 196 million individuals, is where we link all of our data elements to create a comprehensive marketing picture of a consumer. Whether it's for an overlay to enhance a customer file, as a marketing resource to prospect for new customers or to help a client better understand and segment their customers, the RADB is the data engine that drives direct marketing successes. With each RADB data addition and every quarterly total rebuild, we completely standardize all of the data to optimize match-up of data and have the fewest fragmented data elements possible. Bringing in 18 different data sources –­ some with very complex data structures and hundreds of millions of records –­ demands a very powerful tool that can efficiently process a lot of data. Approximately half a billion records go into our quarterly database merge. We process approximately 20 million records monthly at rates from 5.5 to 7.5 million records per CPU per hour.

PRODUCT FUNCTIONALITY: For MarketTouch, Firstlogic software cleans, standardizes, consolidates and matches our 18 data sources into one individual-by- individual, household view. The matching process uses our custom-defined matching rules.

STRENGTHS: Firstlogic is not burdened by legacy software concepts and thinking or poor throughput as were some other packages we tested. Seamlessly matching and consolidating multiple sources of customer data into one unified household view is a critical strength.

WEAKNESSES: Some geographic variable appends require two passes through the product.

SELECTION CRITERIA:We needed a powerful data quality tool that could take advantage of our existing advanced systems architecture, as well as the ability to easily handle the multiple data sources and formats we encounter. Nothing goes into our database until it has been run through Firstlogic Information Quality Suite which cleanses, consolidates and matches the data to create a high-quality data set which feeds the RADB.

DELIVERABLES: We specified a system that could process a half-billion records in less than two days, complete with address cleansing, matching and consolidation, and could process 20 million records monthly in hours. Firstlogic delivered above expectations on all counts. It helps us maximize our competitive edge by more precisely matching and standardizing complex customer information for loading into our data warehouse. The result is an accurate, information-rich marketing data resource for direct marketers.

VENDOR SUPPORT:Our experience with Firstlogic, from pre-sales through implementation, has been very professional. We consider them a key partner in the ongoing success of our RADB and have purchased several follow-on products with high satisfaction.

DOCUMENTATION: The documentation is comprehensive and easy to read.

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