PLATFORMS: Solaris 2.5.1.

BACKGROUND: Gage Marketing Group, headquartered in Minneapolis, is a diversified marketing agency. It is unique in its ability to integrate the entire marketing process from strategy through development to execution. The firm has 2,100 employees and serves 75 percent of the Fortune 100 companies, which results in $293 million in annual revenues.

PROBLEM SOLVED: Gage Marketing uses i.d.Centric's ACE to resolve three major issues regarding our clients' needs. First, ACE enforces sweepstakes and contest rules that limit the number of entries by identifying multiple submitters. Second, it reduces costs associated with duplicate mailings. Third, ACE reduces costs associated with mass database standardizations, by integrating the product's functions with a client's customer service call center. Data is standardized and pristine as soon as it is entered into the database.

PRODUCT FUNCTIONALITY: Gage Marketing processes millions of names, keyed from many sources, in order to maintain marketing databases for our clients. We use the company's ACE (batch product) and ACE Library to standardize addresses so we can more accurately process and analyze the data. ACE enables Gage to standardize all variations of one address or name, thus saving the client postal and other costs associated with duplicate mailings. ACE's accuracy is invaluable to us when we process entries for sweepstakes, flagging even the most minute alterations in name and address. Without this thoroughness, we could not guarantee our clients that the "one-entry-per-household" rule could be enforced. When we integrate the library version with our customer service applications, we are able to create mailing lists that take advantage of bulk mailing rates. By ensuring that each address is accurate--at the moment it is keyed into the database--ACE saves our clients the cost of cleaning the data later. Future plans include expanding our use of the ACE Library product and the ACE Canada Library. We have also purchased i.d.Centric Merge/Purge and DataRight--with a goal of more advanced data cleansing.

STRENGTHS: Documentation and ease of use: i.d.Centric's ACE works just as described in the documentation. Software update loads are very straightforward and present no problems when incorporating the new data. The product is reliable and easy to integrate.

WEAKNESSES: The ACE product does not appear to run from NFS-mounted file systems. It is difficult to run on machines other than where it is installed. Even though the program appears to electronically "see" files from other machines, a file has to be copied onto the machine where the program is installed in order for the software to work properly.

SELECTION CRITERIA: We chose i.d.Centric ACE for its callable "C" library functions, after comparing it with a competitor's product using COBOL. The "C" functions allowed us to easily integrate ACE into our applications.

DELIVERABLES: The ACE program produces a file containing standardized addresses in compliance with U.S. Postal Service guidelines and the necessary documentation needed to receive discounted postal rates.

VENDOR SUPPORT: Excellent from the beginning. We received a demo from i.d.Centric to examine and test the product first. The few times we've had to place support calls, we usually received a response within hours.

DOCUMENTATION: Excellent. We often find our answers in the documentation without having to place a call. If need be, we could rely strictly on the documentation and run the product easily.

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