• December 4, 2015
  • By Leonard Klie, Editor, CRM magazine and SmartCustomerService.com

Harte Hanks Launches Data Refinery Platform

Harte Hanks yesterday launched Data Refinery, a platform that compiles, validates, and enriches customer data from disparate sources to provide marketers with a clear view of customer behavior and intention.

Data Refinery, which is available via the platform-as-a-service model, helps companies harness and manage the ever-expanding volume of customer data. It can sort and manage large volumes of data across multiple sources in near real time, creating application-specific customer profiles based on the most accurate and timely data available.

Jennifer Miles-Losapio, senior product manager and team lead for market and solution strategy at Harte Hanks, calls the new data platform "a flexible way to ingest proprietary or third-party data—structured or unstructured—to create application-specific marketing profiles."

With Data Refinery, companies can take all of the proprietary data they have about their customers, including their contact information and point-of-sale data (such as what they purchase and how often), and pair it up with third-party data, such as Web and social analytics and demographic data. Data Refinery then "takes all of that data together and matches it up against the ideal customer profile so companies can do a better job of marketing" to their customers and prospects, Miles-Losapio says. 

Data Recovery, she adds, can also take all of that data and prepare it for downstream analysis and modeling to better enable processes like sales attribution.

"Its main function is to bring all of your key data together, allowing the marketer to sift through all the data that is out there and have it in one standardized view," she says.

"Today's marketer has an incredible amount of data on consumers," said Frank Grillo, chief marketing officer at Harte Hanks, in a statement. "The volume can be overwhelming. Brands simply can't keep up. 

"Think of marketing data as a jigsaw puzzle in millions of pieces," he continued. "To determine what the consumer is thinking, you have to solve the puzzle, and the clock is ticking faster than you can put the pieces together. Data Refinery solves the puzzle for you, instantaneously."

"As a marketer, you're in a better position to know what action to take because now you have all your data about the customer in one place," Miles-Losapio adds.

The open-source, platform-as-a-service application is based on Hadoop, a free, Java-based programming framework that supports the processing of large data sets in a distributed computing environment. Data Refinery, Miles-Lasapio says, "is designed to be modular because we operate in a constantly evolving landscape."

"It works with all the major existing ecosystems, which can vary widely from one company to the next," she states.

Hadoop, Miles-Losapio adds, is the data environment that most of Harte Hanks's customers are using.

For Harte Hanks, the release of Data Refinery also comes at a time when the company is in the midst of bringing together solutions from a number of companies operating under its corporate umbrella, including Trillium Software, a data quality solutions vendor. The company also recently undertook an executive shake-up that saw Karen Puckett come on board as president and CEO in September and Grillo hired as chief marketing officer in late October.

The release of Data Refinery also comes just a few weeks after Harte Hanks launched Total Customer Discovery, a solution that enables 360-degree profiles of target customers across multiple online and offline channels. Total Customer Discovery tracks and aggregates customer behavior and preferences across channels and devices over time and consolidates them to deliver a complete view of the customer.

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