CATEGORY: Data Quality

REVIEWER: Debra Hudson, project manager, application development, Volvo Information Technologies.

BACKGROUND: Volvo IT was established in 1966 and in 1998 became a wholly owned subsidiary of the Volvo Group. It supports 80 companies, including Volvo Group companies (Renault, Volvo Truck and Mack Truck). Volvo IT is present in Europe, North America, South America and Asia.

PLATFORMS: Volvo IT is running the Trillium Software System in a real-time environment on Windows NT.

PROBLEM SOLVED: Volvo IT was asked by one of its larger customers to establish a 360-degree view of their customers and their relationships to provide a better understanding of customer buying habits to maximize cross-sell, up-sell and support opportunities. With the Trillium Software System, Volvo IT is able to help their customer identify its best customers in order to market to them in the ways they choose, resulting in improved customer service and retention. To support their customer's requirements, the Volvo IT team used data quality solutions to pull customer information from disparate databases to create a single view of customer and partner relationships ­ data that was used throughout the customer's organization for marketing and customer support purposes. Volvo IT was also able to use its cleansed data to populate other enterprise applications, such as business intelligence (BI) solutions that are the foundation of more profitable business practices. Clean data is imperative for initiatives such as business intelligence because accuracy, completeness and validity of information provided to applications directly impacts the relevance of the results produced.

PRODUCT FUNCTIONALITY: Volvo IT's data quality methodology is closely aligned with the Trillium Software data quality methodology. To investigate the data, Volvo IT believes that it must understand the business rules of their customer. To standardize and enrich the data, Volvo IT believes that it must understand the variations and achieve consistency. To link the data, Volvo IT must identify the unique instances of the data based on customer business rules and match information to the unique instances to avoid duplication. To integrate the data, Volvo IT provides the matched, duplicated information to critical business applications.

STRENGTHS: One of the strengths of the Trillium Software System is its matching capabilities. Through the use of these matching capabilities, Volvo IT has uniquely identified names and addresses, significantly reducing its customer's data management investment and improving its data quality. In better identifying its customers, Volvo IT has helped its customers save time and money on marketing campaigns. Early successes and results have prompted Volvo IT to expand its use of the Trillium Software System into other areas of the organization and to other customers.

WEAKNESSES: Because the Trillium Software System is a product, not a service, Volvo IT had to quickly become self-sufficient in optimizing its data quality process. Ultimately, this is to Volvo IT's benefit because future service engagements are not required as data management needs change.

SELECTION CRITERIA: Volvo IT chose the Trillium Software System for the following reasons. It is the strongest data quality tool on the market; built-in business rules allowed Volvo IT to quickly launch its data quality initiative, but the text- based rules format enabled Volvo IT to modify data quality processes to meet specific technical and business criteria. Strong international capabilities were also a requirement, and the Trillium Software System met them with its support of the U.S. and Canadian postal directories and planned support for many of the countries that Volvo IT's customers commonly support.

DELIVERABLES: The Trillium Software System helps ensure that the information Volvo IT has in its master database is accurate and consistent. Volvo IT now has greater confidence in its information and, as a result, is providing better business intelligence to its organizational customers.

VENDOR SUPPORT: Trillium Software has consistently supported Volvo IT. The latest version of the Trillium Software System includes a number of new functions that Volvo IT is interested in using. We like the fact that Trillium Software values its customers' feedback to help in future developments of the product. We are particularly impressed that functionality we had specifically requested was delivered in the most recent version of the software.

DOCUMENTATION: Volvo IT has found that the Trillium Software printed documentation and online customer support Web site are easy to navigate and enable Volvo IT to self-sufficiently address most of its data quality challenges.

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