CATEGORY: Data Quality

REVIEWER: Phil Bright, data warehousing consultant for Woolwich PLC.

BACKGROUND: The Woolwich, a leading provider of financial services and products, was formed in 1847 as a building society to help finance local housing in South East London. It has grown to be one of the UK's top 100 companies and currently serves more than 4 million customers with 405 branches and more than 6,000 staff members. Its most recent innovation, Open Plan, gives The Woolwich's customers a fully integrated banking and financial services solution through branches, telephones, the Internet, wireless application protocol (WAP) mobile phones and interactive digital TV.

PLATFORMS: The Woolwich runs the Trillium Software System on CIS (the main database on the IBM mainframe), UNIX and Windows NT.

PROBLEM SOLVED: In 1999, The Woolwich began a redesign of its data warehouse to gain a more customer-centric view of its customers at both the individual and household levels. With its improved customer and household- based information, The Woolwich is better able to implement strategies such as Open Plan. The Trillium Software System has solved The Woolwich's largest challenge by providing the technology to merge, cleanse and standardize various input sources. Trillium is also able to recognize and link households and individuals, providing The Woolwich with a better view of its customers to market and cross-sell products and services.

PRODUCT FUNCTIONALITY: The Woolwich is running the Trillium Software System to cleanse customer records and deduplicate account records. In The Woolwich's branches, Trillium cleanses and validates addresses online. Trillium's Parser module, a context- sensitive processor, allows The Woolwich to identify by line type exactly what is in each field of a record. The Geocoder, the Trillium module that matches addresses against directories of address-related information, cleans and validates the names and addresses coming into the data warehouse. Trillium's Matcher module eliminates duplicate records between the various data sources as identified relationships on the individual and household levels. In the weekly batch updates, the Parser and Geocoder continue to clean and validate the data, while the Matcher determines if each update record is new or if it can be linked to an existing household or individual. This matching process includes non-name and address fields to increase the accuracy of the process.

STRENGTHS: The ability to customize Trillium's business rules provides The Woolwich with the control and flexibility it needs and desires. In addition, Trillium's ability to standardize data from various sources provides The Woolwich the ability to seamlessly and quickly incorporate additional data feeds in the future. We consider the Trillium Software System to be a high-performance, deep solution set.

WEAKNESSES: Because the product is not a black-box application, there needs to be an investment made in human resources to ensure that the maximum benefit is reaped.

SELECTION CRITERIA: Trillium's ability to standardize data as well as to match accurately and quickly, even with non-name and address data, confirmed The Woolwich's choice. The existing relationship between Harte-Hanks and The Woolwich was a prime motivator in the choice of Trillium. The value for money in terms of excellent product support, user forums and on-site assistance makes the ensemble package a great purchase.

DELIVERABLES: The Trillium Software System enables The Woolwich to clean, standardize and match large volumes of data in a short time. The Woolwich currently has more than 10 million records in the data warehouse and with the use of the Trillium Software System is able to process 40,000 updated records each week. This is greatly reducing unnecessary mailings by ensuring that customers only receive correspondence once. This enhances the customer relationship and inspires confidence in the organization as a whole.

VENDOR SUPPORT: Trillium's professional support team has a broad range of experience and expertise and has been highly responsive to the needs and questions of The Woolwich. The consultants who visited The Woolwich passed on their knowledge and best practices. With their help, The Woolwich has been able to maximize its use of the Trillium Software System.

DOCUMENTATION: Trillium's documentation is very detailed and easy to follow. It provides useful support and product information.

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