BACKGROUND: 3M Corporation is known for its innovative products from the well-known Post-It Notes and Scotchgard fabric protector to high-tech composites for laptop computer displays. The $15 billion company manufactures and sells 50,000 products in 200 countries worldwide.

PLATFORMS: 3M uses Trillium running on UNIX-based corporate repository. The Trillium Software System also operates on IBM mainframes, UNIX systems, AS/400 and Windows NT/98/95. Trillium runs under Java, COM, DCOM and CORBA, and is a BAPI-certified SAP partner.

PROBLEM SOLVED: To 3M, trading partner information (such as customers, end users, suppliers and distributors) is a very important corporate asset. The company is increasingly drawing on its trading partners database as a source of market intelligence, which allows 3M to identify where products are selling and determining who is buying them. Having good trading partner data is critical in an era where trading partners' expectations for service are rising, and it all starts with getting the trading partners' data right. For 3M, this means cleansing at the "point of entry" and as a "service" to non-integrated systems. Implementing Trillium in an online callable environment using Java, 3M is able to reduce the data anomalies in their trading partners database.

PRODUCT FUNCTIONALITY: The Trillium Software System identifies and matches on the existing trading partners' list as well as new trading partners. Trillium allows 3M to cleanse all types of legacy and operational data to create a unified view of our customers, products, suppliers and distributors. The Trillium Conversion Workbench provides a graphically based suite of tools for data exploration, auditing, transformation and table-based conversions, including the non-name and address data types needed in the data warehouse. The Parser, the context-sensitive processor, allows companies to identify by line type exactly what is in each field of a record. The Geocoder matches addresses against directories of address-related information. The geocoding functionality is CASS certified, allowing us to take advantage of all available postal discounts. The Matcher enables our organization to accurately identify and develop relationships with our trading partners. Our developers can easily define and modify parameters that determine what is considered a match and what criteria are established for surviving match data.

STRENGTHS: One great strength is that Trillium can be used in a callable environment using Java and CORBA. After our initial meeting with Trillium representatives, we were convinced that they could help us find a solution rather than just sell a product to us. We needed an experienced data quality vendor that could deliver over the long haul. 3M also found Trillium's platform-independent library of functions a critical advantage as it conducted its data migration. Another strength is the matching engine, because it is powerful, configurable and can be adapted to other uses besides Trillium's off-the-shelf address validation.

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

SELECTION CRITERIA: The Trillium Software System was selected because of its advanced data investigation, cleansing, sophisticated customer consolidation and householding capabilities. While selecting a data quality vendor, 3M's goals were simple: find the quickest, most effective, simplest and least expensive way to cleanse and standardize data. Trillium was also chosen for its ability to handle global address validation.

DELIVERABLES: All new data entries are being processed using Trillium's online cleansing functions. This ensures that our current data is clean and provides us with an accurate view of our trading partners. We are also developing a CORBA API using Trillium's matching engine for matching new trading partners to our database, data warehouse and external reference files such as Dun & Bradstreet's Worldbase.

VENDOR SUPPORT: Trillium has a professional support team with a broad range of experience and expertise. They have been very responsive to our questions and needs.

DOCUMENTATION: We found Tril-lium's documentation helpful. It provides useful support and product information, including technical bulletins, and is also available online.

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