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Microsoft Cleanses Sales and Revenue Data with Trillium Software System

Published
  • April 01 1999, 1:00am EST
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BACKGROUND: Since its inception in 1975, Microsoft has been the leader in creating software for personal computing. The company offers a wide range of products and services for business and personal use, including operating systems for PCs, server applications for client/server environments, business and consumer productivity applications, interactive media programs, and Internet platform and development tools. Microsoft products are available in more than 30 languages and sold in more than 50 countries.

PLATFORMS: The Trillium Software System operates on IBM mainframes, UNIX systems, AS/400 and Windows NT/98. Trillium also runs under Java and is compatible with SAP. Microsoft uses Trillium in both batch and callable mode with Compaq servers running SQL 7.0

PROBLEM SOLVED: Microsoft's sales database contains all sales and revenue data for every product the company sells worldwide. The information is used for everything from general ledger revenue postings to sales forecasts, customer rebates, sales force compensation and purchase orders for inventory restocking. We need detailed, accurate information on what Microsoft is selling, and what Microsoft Partners are selling through the channel, down to the individual customer level. Each week, there were 40,000 to 50,000 unrecognized organizations ­ distributors, resellers, customers. For example, information about a reseller might be entered by more than one distributor with slight variances in the data. Entries may contain erroneous or incomplete data. Revenue totals were not matching up properly for resellers. Report generation was slow and cumbersome, as unmatched records had to be manually reviewed and matched. The rapid growth of the database ­ 14 million new transaction entries each quarter ­ was outstripping the ability to correct errors. While records for larger resellers and customers could be manually matched, the proliferation of smaller organizations meant many records were unresolved. A third-party data cleansing and reengineering technology was needed.

PRODUCT FUNCTIONALITY: Trillium Software System is fully integrated into our sales database to clean all new data as it enters. We rely and trust Trillium to identify and match to our existing customer list as well as identifying new customers. The software uses modifiable match routines to reconcile transaction records with the appropriate organization. This is done through the use of an industrial-strength parsing engine that utilizes intelligent pattern recognition to identify words and phrases as well as names and addresses. We are then able to review the suggested matches and reconcile accordingly. New customer files are then generated for all transactions that do not meet our business rules for the definition of an existing customer. If Trillium can't find or suggest a match, one probably doesn't exist.

STRENGTHS: The software is very tunable, allowing us to easily configure the business rules. It is a worldwide software solutions that can process data in several languages. Its scalability is important as we expand it to cover other enterprise applications and move it to smaller systems to handle specific tasks, such as managing customer profiles.

WEAKNESSES: The current user interface is workable but needs improvement. In batch mode, the software solution is currently based on flat files and is unable to dynamically call a database. This limits the flexibility of integration with disparate products. Lastly, the current application doesn't support double byte character languages.

SELECTION CRITERIA: Trillium Software System was selected because of its ability to handle data in eight languages, its multitasking capabilities and the vendor's ability to provide test files to evaluate capabilities prior to implementation.

DELIVERABLES: Within the first year of implementation we've experienced a 10-fold ROI from our initial investment with Trillium. Revenue and sales reports can be generated in less than two days instead of five. The number of personnel dedicated to reviewing and auditing data has been reduced from 18 to eight. The IS department now provides a value-added service by ensuring quality data corporate wide. Because of the overwhelming success we've experienced with Trillium we plan to incorporate the software into on-line applications within our organization.

VENDOR SUPPORT: Trillium provided test files for use in evaluating their system which assured us that the Trillium system could be adapted to our needs.

DOCUMENTATION: Trillium's documentation is excellent. We needed a solution that could be implemented quickly and easily learned by a staff of 20. Product documentation, including technical bulletins, is also available on-line.

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