REVIEWER: Austin Bridges, database development manager for Littlewoods Retail Ltd.

BACKGROUND: Littlewoods is a leading UK- based retailer. The Littlewoods Home Shopping division was launched in 1932; and the first Littlewoods store opened in 1937, followed by the first Index store in 1985. The company employs more than 25,000 people in the UK. The traditional agency home shopping catalogues that make up the Littlewoods family include Littlewoods, John Moores, Janet Frazer, Burlington and Peter Craig. The direct shopping catalogue is called Littlewoods Extra. Littlewoods has 118 physical store locations and 181 catalogue shops, 99 of which are located within Littlewoods stores.

PLATFORMS: Littlewoods is currently using the Trillium Software System on an 8x400 MHz Sun Starfire Solaris platform.

PROBLEM SOLVED: When Littlewoods began planning for its new CRM implementation, the company's executives understood the importance of data quality. In 2000, Littlewoods set up a database build timetable for the construction of a data warehouse linked to the development and implementation of a CRM solution. The development involved migrating customer data to a new system platform and building a centralized customer database. Littlewoods had outgrown its existing database infrastructure and tools, and found they were no longer providing adequate functionality, capacity or flexibility to support future marketing strategies. The new customer information system (CIS) was planned to center on an integrated prospect, trading applications and customer account data warehouse. The centralized customer data in the warehouse would support a single view of any individual currently, previously or potentially trading with Littlewoods. With the Trillium Software System, Littlewoods has created a more complete, accurate and relevant customer view for use across its Home Shopping business. A major benefit of this process is the identification of customers with multiple accounts. The solution's record matching and enhancement capabilities have also helped reduce Littlewoods' marketing costs. The main business benefit is that by identifying people, rather than accounts, we can now start to look at our transactions from a customer perspective.

PRODUCT FUNCTIONALITY: The goal of the first phase of this project was to create a single integrated view of the customers of the Littlewoods Home Shopping division. The Trillium Software System enables the organization to generate a unified view of its customers. It allowed Littlewoods to quickly deploy and establish a completely scalable, repeatable process for data quality management. The Trillium Converter, Parser, Geocoder and Matcher provide accurate, unified and consistent views of customers based on data sources throughout the enterprise.

STRENGTHS: A key benefit of the Trillium Software System is its ability to handle large volumes of data. The initial data process included 42 million prospects, 5.4 million trading applications and 0.6 million customer accounts. Updates are run weekly. In the course of a year, Littlewoods anticipates processing 12 million prospects, 6.6 million trading applications and 0.4 million name and address changes.

WEAKNESSES: Because the Trillium Software System is limited to data cleansing, conversion and reengineering capabilities, it does not provide functions such as extraction and propagation.

SELECTION CRITERIA: After using in-house routines developed over a period of 20 years, Littlewoods recognized the necessity of finding a flexible and powerful tool to undertake the name and address matching processes. After evaluating the data processing capabilities of four data quality vendors, Littlewoods chose the Trillium Software System as its data quality solution.

DELIVERABLES: The Trillium Software System has enabled us to better control debt risk and improve our debt collection costs. The ability to know which accounts belong to the same customer is worth more than £100,000 a year to us in reduced bad debt costs. This saving alone more than justifies our investment in the Trillium Software System. To the business users of the data warehouse, the Trillium Software System implementation has been almost invisible, but they know that there are fewer duplicate records and that information from diverse systems and sources is now linked. The users recognized these results as essential enablers of CRM.

VENDOR SUPPORT: Trillium Software is very responsive to our needs.

DOCUMENTATION: Trillium Software provides printed and online documentation. The documentation is easy to understand and very thorough.

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