REVIEWER: Jeff Averbeck, president and CEO of SMARTech Corp.
BACKGROUND: SMARTech is a Chattanooga, Tennessee-based provider of complex data and messaging hosting and communications services for companies, organizations and event venues across North America, including the 2008 Republican National Convention. SMARTech and its parent firm, AirNet, provide services including traditional and wireless Internet connectivity, data solutions, disaster and recovery services, audio and video streaming, Web hosting, VoIP services, specialized co-location and broadcast email services.
PLATFORMS: SMARTech runs Melissa Data’s Total Data Quality Integration Toolkit (TDQ-IT) platform on SQL Server 2008 and SQL Server Integration Services (SSIS).
PROBLEM SOLVED: SMARTech launched a portal called smartCommunicator (– a data-centric communication hub that enables individuals, businesses and agencies to share information from diverse sources using a single, unified media platform. The portal consists of 10 modules for tracking and updating valuable information on markets and communities, including a cell phone text messenger, a targeted emailing platform, a call center that manages and delivers autodialed calls to traditional phones and cell phones, a social network interface, and an analytics and survey tool. Since its launch in 2002, the portal’s usage doubled every year in the volume of emails sent, to the point where more than 10 billion messages are handled. It became an increasing challenge integrating large volumes of data and disparate data sources into the portal. The need for a master data management solution that would allow SMARTech to gain a single, accurate, organized view of its customers through consolidating data across different data sources became increasingly clear. To address these requirements, SMARTech implemented TDQ-IT. TDQ-IT works within the SSIS data flow to deliver a wide range of data integration, transformation and cleansing functionality including profiling, parsing, cleansing, matching and monitoring.
PRODUCT FUNCTIONALITY: TDQ-IT was embedded as the hub of the import tool within smartData, a key smartCommunicator module. TDQ-IT’s transforms – Name, Address, GeoCoder, Phone and Email verification components – are all put into action as each individual data upload is scrubbed and merged into a single, uniform data set. The goal is to create a single anchor record per individual from which SMARTech’s customers operate multimillion-record mass communications strategies. TDQ-IT is invoked in the smartData module, where all of the data upload, download and enhancement activities are accomplished. The SSIS processes are Web-service enabled, so they can be called from anywhere especially for cleansing and matching.
STRENGTHS: Integrating TDQ-IT and adopting the enterprise platform into SMARTech’s workflow was seamless. SMARTech can now integrate into corporate ERP and CRM applications via Web service calls, allowing the siloed data to be matched into the customers’ systems, thereby integrating all of the communication data touch points, such as email text and auto-dial survey results, into valuable pivot tables used to target specific consumers, etc.
WEAKNESSES: The method of breakout for geocoding at the street level doesn’t work properly, but the Melissa Data team is working on the fix.
SELECTION CRITERIA: Having worked with Melissa Data’s MAILERS+4 [postal automation software] in the past, SMARTech was familiar with the quality and ease of use that Melissa Data’s products offered. Our company used a competitor’s product, but it did not integrate well with SSIS. Upon seeing Melissa Data’s TDQ-IT toolkit – and how that toolkit resides within SSIS – SMARTech’s decision to adapt the tools to its application was an easy one. The knowledge base for SQL Server applications is deep and wide.
Rather than spending countless sums of money on training and specialized staff, it has been a breeze getting staffers who are already familiar with SQL’s tools up and running with the new toolkit.
DELIVERABLES: SMARTech maintains more than 1 billion records. About 200 million records had been processed through TDQ-IT in the first three months after the launch. SMARTech manages many customer-based silos but maintains a very large warehouse used for centralized address or demographic information to minimize outside processing. SMARTech uses the platform’s matching capabilities to manage this and to minimize processing against the National Change of Address database. TDQ-IT’s ease of integration expanded our ability to provide customer-specific, data-based applications – ensuring that all data entering the applications is uniform, standardized and cleansed.
VENDOR SUPPORT: The Melissa Data customer service team was instrumental in our decision to purchase the TDQ-IT toolkit. After dealing with an almost nonexistent support staff for prior products, the ease and speed that we have received responses and answers to our questions has made the transition between tools easy.
DOCUMENTATION: The documentation is good and easy to follow, and additional answers are just a phone call away.
Total Data Quality Integration Toolkit (TDQ-IT)
Melissa Data Corp.
22382 Avenida Empresa
Rancho Santa Margarita, CA 92688
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