REVIEWER: Thomas Roth, Web development manager for Day-Timers, Inc.
BACKGROUND: Day-Timers, Inc. is a pioneer in the field of time management, providing tools for people to increase their productivity, effectiveness and efficiency. The East Texas, Pennsylvania-based company offers more than 100 paper, computer and Internet-based products for business, school and home use. The Day-Timer products are available through a bevy of distribution channels around the world. The company's Web site and direct sales initiatives have emerged as vital sales channels. The Day-Timers Web site has been developed using active server pages (ASP) and is driven by a Microsoft SQL Server database running on Windows 2000.
PLATFORMS: Day-Timers runs Melissa Data's Address Object tool on its Windows 2000 servers.
PROBLEM SOLVED: Melissa Data's Address Object helped us identify common customers. Our customers order through many different means, such as our call center or via our Web site. Having correct addresses in standard format is crucial. We needed to know that the John Smith at 1 Main Street, Anytown, Pennsylvania, 18046, was already in our database of customers. Address Object helped greatly in standardizing our customer files so that matching the same customers became an easy task.
FUNCTIONALITY: We use Address Object to standardize our customer addresses. Through the Verify Address function, the tool returns to us a standardized address as well as a code indicating whether the address could be standardized. This standardized address is then written to our customer database as the customer's address. The benefits include a cleaner customer database and greater customer recognition. We also use Address Object in other ways. When a customer first enters his or her address, Address Object verifies that the ZIP code is accurate. If the ZIP code is correct, the address is accepted; if not, we will stop the customer at that point. The addresses collected during the entire day are cleansed and standardized in a batch process at night.
STRENGTHS: Strengths of Address Object include its ease of use and accuracy. The code needed in order to interact with the program is minimal. In terms of accuracy, we typically get a 95 percent or better hit rate with the addresses we put through. Address Object is a developer tool that allows users to verify addresses in either batch mode or at the point of data entry. Using the program has ensured the integrity of the database by preventing errors before they occur. Address Object is one component in Melissa's Data Quality Tools suite and is available for Windows, Linux and Solaris-based systems.
WEAKNESS: Canadian addresses can sometimes be a problem to standardize.
SELECTION CRITERIA: When we decided to pay more attention to address standardization, we evaluated other options and felt Melissa Data was the obvious choice, based on what we wanted to do and the cost involved. For example, when we first decided to modify the standardization process, Address Object was able to verify 95 percent of the addresses or better. Formerly, we used a mainframe solution that was costly and because most of the code we write resides on the server, the decision was made to go with Melissa Data's Address Object.
DELIVERABLES: The product provides a clean customer database. Addresses are now standardized according to U.S. Postal Service regulations.
VENDOR SUPPORT: Melissa Data's technical support has been excellent. They have reacted quickly to any questions we had during development, implementation and production. They have even taken our requests for future enhancements to the product. Melissa Data's support team also helped Day-Timers take advantage of several lesser-known features.
DOCUMENTATION: The documentation was more than adequate. We relied on it heavily during our development process for the syntax of the method calls. Melissa Data only needed to be contacted for very detailed questions about how the product was handling particular addresses.
Melissa Data Corp.
22382 Avenida Empresa
Rancho Santa Margarita, CA 92688
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