• August 1, 2006
  • By Coreen Bailor, (former) Associate Editor, CRM Magazine

Harte-Hanks Keeps Up With the Joneses

Direct marketing house Harte-Hanks has scooped up U.K.-based Global Address, a firm specializing in global postal address data quality software and services, for an undisclosed amount. Harte-Hanks intends to integrate elements of Global Address into its existing international offerings, including its Global Data Management product and data quality solutions from its Trillium Software division, but will continue to support standalone Global Address and its existing customers. Harte-Hanks will also focus on maintaining relationships with resellers and OEM integrators worldwide, according to the company. Global Address' products are used in more than 230 countries and territories, and are Unicode compatible, allowing the solutions to read complex character sets, including Chinese, Hellenic, and Russian. Its solutions arsenal includes the Global Address Data Quality Server, which captures and cleanses name and address data; the Global Datastore, a data repository that includes reference data on names, addresses, time-zones, geocode coordinates, and other related data; and the Global Datastore Editor, which allows users to customize the datastore's rules and dictionaries. Its customer base includes companies in verticals like financial, manufacturing, publishing, and technology. One of Global Address' strengths, according to Gary Skidmore, corporate officer and senior vice president at Harte-Hanks, is its breadth of address reference data compiled from postal authorities and other licensed address data. "Global Address software, reference data, and services enable companies to capture, clean and enhance postal address data from just about anywhere in the world," Skidmore said in a written statement. "Its innovative and easy-to-use software and services solve the significant business problem of inaccurate addresses of customers, prospects and suppliers." As part of the deal, Global Address cofounder Martin Turvey will serve as managing director of Global Address, Harte-Hanks. "In addition to ensuring postal discounts and reliable delivery, Global Address is used in customer contact centers, anti-fraud programs and other business applications," Turvey said in a written statement. "For example, the software flags potentially fraudulent online transactions by alerting users to unrecognized addresses entered on users' Web sites. It is used as an analytics tool to understand geographic retail spending based on ZIP Code or postal code recognition." The data quality software market has experienced a wave of recent M&A activity. For instance, in April 2005 IBM acquired enterprise data integration software provider Ascential Software and rebranded it IBM Information Integration Solutions. In January 2006 data integration software provider Informatica announced that it acquired Similarity Systems, an Ireland-based provider of data quality solutions. And In April 2006 BI specialist Business Objects announced that completed its purchase of enterprise data quality software and services provider Firstlogic. Leslie Ament, director of Aberdeen Group's customer intelligence research practice, sees this acquisition as being driven by several factors including "keeping up with the Joneses, such as the Experians of the world," (which acquired QAS, a supplier of address management solutions, in October 2004), providing a robust, full-service capability to its installed base, and adding value to its data quality functionality. "While this will enable Harte-Hanks to provide [its] customers a higher level of data accuracy rates in matching international addresses, it will take some time for Global Address tools to seamlessly integrate into Trillium Software's solution." Related articles: Gartner's First Data Quality Magic Quadrant
Companies Still Grapple with Effective CDM Data Quality: Is It Up to IT Alone?
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