BACKGROUND: Pegasus Systems provides electronic commerce and transaction processing solutions to hotels, travel agencies, meetings and convention planners, corporate travel departments and Internet business worldwide, and operates the consumer travel reservations site, Pegasus Business Intelligence provides comprehensive range of data, research and reporting services for benchmark analysis and strategic planning.

PLATFORMS: Sun Solaris.

PROBLEM SOLVED: The Pegasus Business Intelligence unit provides marketing intelligence, including guest profiles and "stay" analysis, to client hotel chains and management companies. Our data sources are operational/transactional hotel guest data provided by the clients. This data is in diverse formats with varying levels of quality. We standardize this data, match it to get consolidated information on individual guests and households (which our analysts utilize to provide marketing intelligence and formulate marketing recommendations) and verify addresses. Because stays, guests and households are defined differently by different clients, each client requires its own set of business rules. We require a flexible data re- engineering tool that can easily adapt to each client's needs.

PRODUCT FUNCTIONALITY: Through customization of the rule sets in the INTEGRITY product from Vality Technology, we have created individual rule sets to suit each client. Using the Windows-based Workbench of the INTEGRITY Data Re-engineering Environment, we've built and maintained procedures for data investigation, standardization, matching across data values and reconciliation across records. Using the pre-built procedures, we've parsed and analyzed free-form fields and constructed rule sets for matching, linked related records lacking a common key and constructed new records based upon data value reconciliation and consolidation rules. We also utilize INTEGRITY's data cleansing, parsing, lexical analysis, probabilistic matching and comprehensive data typing.

STRENGTHS: The rule set customization enables us to control how the data is conditioned and standardized to meet our clients' varied requirements. The investigation module is helpful in providing pointers to problem areas in standardization. This is a good marketing tool ­ we can show our clients the real quality state of their data at the start of our engagement. The interface is easy to use, and the pre-built procedures are comprehensive and efficient to integrate and run. The matching and standardization are robust and achieve high accuracy rates. Because of the flexibility of the tool and the reusability of many of the components, we estimate a productivity gain of three to four times the man hours in development.

WEAKNESSES: We have integrated additional products in our environment to handle some functions not supported by INTEGRITY, specifically data enhancement items such as demographic and geocoding of our guest household information. Limitations on direct database access from INTEGRITY modules require a download of our database housed control and lookup information prior to processing.

SELECTION CRITERIA: INTEGRITY was the only re-engineering tool with the flexibility to easily apply varied hotel business rules. Others claimed to have this capability, but you had to code in procedural languages to customize their rules and then manually integrate these functions back into the applications. INTEGRITY also provides a more robust approach regarding data investigation, standardization and consolidation. We get match rates 20 to 30 percent better in address standardization and verification than were observed in other products.

DELIVERABLES: INTEGRITY's Investigation procedure generates reports that analyze existing data to assess its actual quality level and to identify the content of data fields and statistics relative to the population of the content. INTEGRITY also transforms, standardizes and reconciles data to very high accuracy rates.

VENDOR SUPPORT: We took advantage of the Vality Mentoring Program. After classroom training, a Vality consultant and instructor came on site, providing product, project and data re-engineering methodology guidance and support. Their feedback and assistance helped our developers move up the learning curve quickly and allowed us to prototype, design and implement our business requirements in a rapid fashion.

DOCUMENTATION: The getting started manual and user guide are complete and helpful. The Work-bench provides Windows-based, context-sensitive help that guided us through the major processes of data investigation, standardization, matching and reconciliation. There is no troubleshooting guide.

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