BACKGROUND: Origin Technology was asked to provide a data quality solution for Cincinnati Bell Telephone, which needed to standardize existing customer data and enter clean data about new customers into its customer database. Origin Technology, a subsidiary of Philips Electronics of the Netherlands, is a global information technology services company delivering business solutions for multinational corporations. Cincinnati Bell Telephone, a subsidiary of Cincinnati Holding Company, is one of the oldest independent telephone companies in the nation and serves about one million customers.

PLATFORMS: A Microsoft Windows NT server and an HP 9000 UNIX using Oracle7.3 Enterprise and Microsoft SQL Server 6.5 databases.

PROBLEM SOLVED: The data quality project at Cincinnati Bell Telephone originated from the IT data standardization and architecture group. Origin was asked to provide a solution that would enable Cincinnati Bell to view multiple customer accounts (bills) as ONE customer. To create this single customer view, Cincinnati Bell needed to merge its customer billing accounts into single customer entities. Once this was accomplished, it had the ability to match and consolidate internal account records and external purchased customer market/segment records into a single customer record.

PRODUCT FUNCTIONALITY: The i.d.Centric technology was utilized in three core areas of the data quality project. First, we needed to migrate legacy data from the IBM mainframe system into a client/server application. In one large batch job we extracted all the data off the mainframe, cleansed it with the i.d.Centric technology and loaded it on the Oracle Enterprise server, which now serves as the on-line operational data store. It continues receiving daily transactional data from the mainframe systems. The daily download utilizes the i.d.Centric technology to ensure that the inserted customer addresses data into the on-line operational data store is correct. Second, Cincinnati Bell sales reps needed to verify names and addresses on demand, while using a sales force automation system (ONYX). Through Firstlogic's existing partnership with ONYX, the i.d.Centric technology was already integrated ­ eliminating any concerns. i.d.Centric verifies each new customer order as it is entered on the sales rep's laptop and downloaded into the in-house system. The invalid names and addresses are rejected, and an automatic e-mail is sent to the user who entered the address for correction. Finally, we used the i.d.Centric technology to perform this standardization on purchased customer lists.

STRENGTHS: The i.d.Centric solution is so easy and uncomplicated that there never has been a major issue that a technical support representative could not resolve in a matter of minutes. The i.d.Centric software is very intelligent. Free-form entries of one, two or three-line addresses are entered via the sales force automation system. Through a comparison with a secondary data source, the i.d.Centric software corrects, standardizes and enhances the address.

WEAKNESSES: The library-oriented packages are short of example codes. We had to call in for both the VB-based and C-based libraries for examples. We later found that there are examples on the install tape for the C libraries but there were no manuals pointing us to them. The VB examples were e-mailed to us at a later time.

SELECTION CRITERIA: Upon reviewing a number of solutions, i.d.Centric was chosen for its easy and uncomplicated implementation time. In addition, the solution is available on UNIX and Windows 95/NT operating systems.

DELIVERABLES: We achieved our goal of a single customer view. Before the data quality implementation, we matched purchased consumer market data at a 30 percent rate. Now, our match rate is up to 90 percent ­ tripling our ROI with each list.

VENDOR SUPPORT: Excellent throughout. I could rely on them on getting back to me, and they were very knowledgeable about any question.

DOCUMENTATION: The documentation is excellent: easy to understand and self-contained for troubleshooting.

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