CATEGORY: CRM Analytics

REVIEWERS: Marilyn Cobb, systems manager, and Debbie Hyson, senior programmer/analyst for Western- Southern Life.

BACKGROUND: Since its founding in 1888, The Western and Southern Life Insurance Company (WSL) has been committed to providing high- quality, personalized financial services to customers. In recent years, the company has developed integrated distribution channels to reach customers on their terms ­ when they want, where they want and how they want. Assembling accurate information about customers is crucial to this effort; however, like most insurance companies, WSL tracked its policies, but not necessarily its individual customers. The company wanted to have a complete view of its total customer base and the customers associated with each household. This information would be stored in a customer-focused, effective, enterprise data warehouse. WSL also determined that from a customer relationship management (CRM) and customer retention perspective, having a clear view and a solid understanding of each customer was an absolute necessity. To build an accurate and relevant 360-degree view of its customer relationships that would be the foundation of CRM, we knew we needed to purchase a data quality solution.

PLATFORMS: At WSL, customer data is extracted from mainframe production systems and used to populate an Oracle database on a UNIX platform.

PROBLEM SOLVED: The challenge was that the company had more than 3.2 million policyholders and more than 4 million customers representing approximately 1.5 million households. The Trillium Software System played an essential part in WSL's CRM implementation. Without clean and standardized data, WSL would not be able to have a unified view of its customers. WSL needed a data quality solution that could reach for the "knowledge" in its address base and perform functions such as parsing and matching according to a standardized process. With clean data, WSL is able to accurately identify customer interactions through multiple touchpoints and is able to prevent fraudulent transactions.

PRODUCT FUNCTIONALITY: The WSL Trillium Software System implementation plan called for us to conduct the initial run-through of real data at the mainframe level to take advantage of the mainframe speed. This allowed us to get up and running more quickly.

STRENGTHS: The Trillium Software System is very user-friendly. WSL was able to quickly learn the system and get its customers and household data up and running in a very short period of time.

WEAKNESSES: Trillium is limited to data cleansing, conversion and reengineering capabilities. It does not provide functions such as extraction and propagation.

SELECTION CRITERIA: To find the most appropriate data quality solution, WSL turned to Gartner, Inc. for recommendations. Through this and other research, WSL identified three candidates from data quality vendors. After a thorough evaluation process, WSL chose the Trillium Software System. The Trillium Software System is a complete enterprise-wide data quality software solution that provides data discovery and investigation; customer identification and standardization; customer data enhancement with global, cultural and multinational information; and customer relationship matching.

DELIVERABLES: Like most insurance companies, WSL focused on policies only, and the limited groupings formed for customers were based solely around billings. As a result, WSL did not have a complete picture of precisely how many customers or households we had. Because we wanted to personalize sales efforts to customers and households, WSL felt it was imperative to build an enterprise data warehouse with a customer relationship management perspective in mind. By achieving strategic objectives with the enterprise data warehouse, WSL has been able to create a single source of corporate information that can help identify the following cross- sell opportunities, targeted prospects, customer profitability and customer behavior.

VENDOR SUPPORT: The knowledge and expertise of Trillium's staff influenced our decision to purchase the product. Everyone has been extremely helpful and cooperative. We have called Trillium's help desk a few times and immediately received the answers that we needed. Trillium's customer support department is very responsive to our needs.

DOCUMENTATION: Trillium has provided several different types of documentation, including print, electronic and online. The documentation is thorough and easy to understand.

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