• March 1, 2007
  • By Colin Beasty, (former) Associate Editor, CRM Magazine

Taking Out the Trash

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Onyx North America (ONA) is an expert when it comes to helping customers mop up a mess. When faced with its own dirty data issues, the company turned to DataFlux to scrub its customer data. As one of the leading waste and environmental services companies in the United States and Canada, ONA needed to know specific details about its client base to communicate regularly with its customers. However, customer data, including names, addresses, phone numbers, and other contact info, languished in different data sources across multiple business units. "Like a lot of companies we have acquired information over time, whether through corporate mergers and acquisitions, or by buying lists of prospective customers," says Steve Heindl, manager of business systems for Onyx Waste Services. "And each data source has information stored in different ways and formats." The problems ranged from simple to complex. Certain data sources had information for a customer's "city" routinely in the "address" field. Some customers had only a street address, but marketing lists Onyx purchased might have had a P.O. box for them, making it difficult to manually reconcile the two records. ONA chose DataFlux's dfPower Studio, a data management application that allows users to analyze, improve, and control corporate data. The company uses dfPower to inspect customer data and then build reusable data correction routines to create better contact information. "With DataFlux we understand at the beginning of the process what problems we are facing," Heindl says. "Then, once we have those rules in place, we can store the procedures to address similar problems in the future, cutting down on the amount of work required to accomplish our data quality routines." Onyx uses the address verification capabilities of dfPower Studio to validate addresses and fill in missing information within customer records. With that functionality, the company can go beyond cleaning records to building more complete information from customer data. "By standardizing and validating our data, we save time and resources by extracting usable information about our customers and prospects," Heindl says. "It enhances our sales, marketing, and even the accounting functions because we know more about our customers."
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