Monday, December 1, 2008

Information Quality Success at Nectar

It’s great when you see data quality programs work. Such is the case in Europe, where Loyalty Management Group (LMG) has improved efficiency and information quality in a very large, retail-based, customer loyalty program. I hadn’t heard of Nectar all that much here in the USA, but the Nectar card is very well-known in the UK. About half of all UK households use it to earn points from everyday purchases and later redeem those points for gifts and prizes. Recently, Groupe Aeroplan purchased LMG and Nectar is now their brand.

Using the databases generated by Nectar, the company also provides database marketing and consulting services to retailers, service providers and consumer packaged goods companies worldwide. Data is really the company’s primary asset.

Nectar data
The data management effort needed to handle half the population of the UK and a good portion of Europe could be perilous. To make matters worse, data entered into the Nectar system generally comes from paper-based forms available in stores or received through mailings, online or by phoning a call center. All of these sources could produce poor data if not checked.

To gain closer business control, the company made business management responsible for data integrity rather than IT. The company also embedded the Trillium Software System in its own systems, including in real-time for online and call center applications.

At first, LMG used just the basic capabilities of the tool to ensure that at enrollment, addresses matched to UK Postcode Address File (PAF). Later, the company engaged a business-oriented data quality steward to review existing processes and propose new policy. For example, they set up various checks using Trillium Software to check for mandatory information at the point of registration. A process is now in place where the data collector is notified of missing information.

Information quality often lands and expands into an organization, once folks see how powerful it can be. In LMG’s case, the Trillium Software System is implemented to help partners match their own customer databases with the Nectar collector database. For certain campaigns, Nectar partners might want to know which individuals are on both their own customer database and on the Nectar database, or which customers are common to both. The Trillium Software System allows for this, including the process of pre-processing the partner’s data where necessary, to bring it up to a sufficient standard for accurate matching.

You can download the whole story on LMG here.

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Disclaimer: The opinions expressed here are my own and don't necessarily reflect the opinion of my employer. The material written here is copyright (c) 2010 by Steve Sarsfield. To request permission to reuse, please e-mail me.