REVIEWER: Gary Zannotti, vice president of operations for UATP.

BACKGROUND: Founded in 1936, UATP issued the world's first credit card. UATP accounts are issued by 14 airlines worldwide to their corporate customers and accepted by more than 220 airlines and travel agencies. Each day, the company receives data feeds from partner airlines and processing centers, containing information on approximately 50,000 transactions per day.

PLATFORM: Microsoft Windows XP Professional.

PROBLEM SOLVED: UATP faced a common problem for any high-volume transaction processing center: how to identify and address problematic data as it arrives. UATP needed a way to find blank fields, incomplete information, incorrect values and other data anomalies that make it difficult to effectively process transactions within the system. UATP turned to DataFlux dfPower Studio to provide high-level data profiling and data discovery functionality. As data arrives, data analysts at UATP can run prebuilt profiling routines on the incoming information to uncover potential problems. Once recognized, UATP can alert the airline or processing center of missing or incorrect information and allow the originating organization to correct the problems.

PRODUCT FUNCTIONALITY: UATP utilizes dfPower Studio as a solution to assess the data quality of incoming data, which provides a plan to improve the quality of data throughout the value chain. The software helps the company identify null and blank values, discover distinct values, verify data patterns and uncover basic statistics such as minimum and maximum values. In addition, the ability to build custom business rules within dfPower Studio allows analysts to create unique rules for the data discovery process - providing a critical element of control outside of standard data profiling features. Once the profiling process is complete, UATP uses the exporting and graphing features of dfPower Studio to generate reports for internal and external use. The reports and graphs provide direct feedback on the quality of information arriving at UATP, helping uncover areas for improvement in the future.

STRENGTHS: The primary strength is the ability to automate many data discovery routines to streamline the analysis phase of the process. Through its data monitoring capabilities, dfPower Studio allows UATP to create and initiate ongoing analysis routines that can find and flag bad or incomplete data as it arrives. For those routines that run occasionally or as-needed, the ability to save these profiling routines for later use is another benefit. dfPower Studio also allows nontechnical users to perform complex data discovery routines, including validating patterns, identifying redundant data and locating other issues. While other solutions require some programming to accomplish in-depth profiling routines, dfPower Studio is tailored to the business user.

WEAKNESSES: For some of the custom business rules validation, a cursory knowledge of SQL statements helps streamline this process.   

SELECTION CRITERIA: UATP conducted a broad-based search for data profiling and data discovery technologies. The primary criterion was ease of use. Other significant criteria included the ability to identify weaknesses in the data, overall cost-effectiveness and the ability to export and report on problematic data. DataFlux provided the right mix of each of these criteria.

DELIVERABLES: The primary deliverable from dfPower Studio is the ability to take the information learned from profiling and export those findings in reports. The technology allows business users to drill-down to subsets of data and export the excerpts to partner organizations to illustrate problem areas. This capability helps improve communication about data-specific issues between UATP and its partner network. Internally, the graphing features of dfPower Studio allow employees to better illustrate the types of problematic data arriving at UATP.

VENDOR SUPPORT: From the beginning of the project, DataFlux has provided excellent support. The sales team provided a detailed demonstration that explained the power of the solution. After implementation, the professional services staff provided a solid background on the software. The services staff understood our needs and requirements, and tailored training and installation to address those issues. DataFlux also has a useful, up-to-date online customer portal that allows customers to download updates, post queries and interact with other DataFlux customers.

DOCUMENTATION: Documentation is complete and easy to understand.

DataFlux dfPower Studio
940 Cary Parkway, Suite 201
Cary, NC 27513
(919) 447-3000

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