Marketers Doing It for Themselves

Personal data. Transactional data. Business data. The mass of information companies are collecting is crucial to today's business success. But it is also overwhelming. "You turn on the fire hose of data, then something breaks down," says Len Dubois, vice president of marketing for Trillium Software, a division of Harte-Hanks that develops data cleansing applications. Trillium's launch of its Trillium Software System 6 aims to help marketers get control of their data before they drown in a flood of information. The application "is designed to be understood and implemented by businesspeople," Dubois says. This eliminates the need for marketers to go to IT every time they need to generate reports or conduct research. "Trillium has simplified the solution, so it's geared toward business users," says Robert Lerner, an analyst, business intelligence and data warehousing, for Current Analysis, a research firm in Sterling, VA. Although it was never IT-intensive, Lerner says, such functionality as pull-down menus makes it easy to use. To create this upgrade, Trillium did its homework. "We went out to our 20 best customers and asked them, 'What did you do [with our software] that made you so successful? We want to incorporate that in version six,'" Dubois says. Although other companies also do this, Trillium is recognized for working closely with its customers, Lerner says. The main concerns that many of these companies shared were that they don't know how good or bad their data is, and that they couldn't always measure their return on investment. To help solve these problems, System 6 includes data-quality analytics. The system analyzes the quality of such data as name, address, policy types, and SKU numbers, and flags mistakes at the field level. Then, using numbers that the marketers input, the program analyzes what these errors cost, for example, per marketing campaign. It also shows the cost savings for correcting the bad data. This process uncovers where the bad data is hiding, shows how to fix the data, and tells what the ROI is for doing so. Boise Cascade, which tested the beta version of System 6, was able to increase profits during a time of decreasing overall sales, because it was able to use System 6 to generate incremental business from existing customers, Dubios says. "Trillium's System 6 is a really strong offering," Lerner says. According to Lerner, the applications could strengthen Trillium's position as the 800-pound gorilla in the data cleansing space. Trillium's System 6 includes a series of enhancements. Its new Business Parser can analyze and cleanse such data as parts and serial numbers, policy types, product and inventory names, and serial and SKU numbers. The parser allows users to develop their own business rules to interpret data fields. The new Country Data Router can manage multilingual data and information, processing it at a country-specific level. And the Investigator allows marketers to conduct basic data interrogation.
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