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“With international address data, you need to present it as a single consistent file for querying and prioritise the best data sets within it.” Emma Gooderham, MD, Allies Computing

ááá tools, like Postcode Anywhere’s new Capture+, all the hard work (more than ten times as many look-ups as conventional addressing packages) is done back at the server farm. Arc en Ciel offers a number of applications that work with either installed or remote reference data: OS Code-Point Open, the Royal Mail’s PAF and Multiple Residence (MR) data sets and their own street-level and place-name gazetteers. However, the company is equally happy for its clients to build their own front-end tool or website integration and simply call its web service each time a look-up is needed. “It’s relatively trivial to write your own

software to work with our feed,” says Arc en Ciel’s Technical Director Tony Reynolds. “We supply the raw feed with per-click charging – that’s the beauty of web services.” So the potential is there for one vendor to

offer web service-supplied look-ups from another third-party data supplier. By gathering together various look-up feeds, a reseller could act as a web service intermediary by bringing together feeds from multiple sources and offering them to its user.

This would reduce redundancy: each reference file would only have to be held onceor a limited number oflocations,with each vendor querying it and then returning the result – or combinations of results – to their users. “We would be happy to supply our feeds via

a third party,” says Reynolds. “With a transaction-based charge, there would be no

Social sign-on gains ground

One intriguing registration model rapidly gaining adherents is social sign-on, joining federated identity initiatives like OpenID, Shibboleth and LiveID (previously MS Passport). Led by suppliers like Janrain, this allows customers to sign into websites using their IDs from social networks like Facebook and Twitter rather than going through the conventional registration process. Customers seem to like this rapid registration model:a 2011 study by Blue Research found that 77% of consumers favoured social log-in over conventional registration, with 54% saying they might abandon a website if asked to fill out a form.Nike is one of many adopters, offering social sign-on alongside a conventional registration form.

Each time a user logs in with a social identity, the site owner gets to collecta rich set of profile data. The data available varies by network. There are up to 180 data items for each user via Facebook’s Graph API, but most identity

26 November 2012

providers supply a name, email address, birthdate, location and other demographic fields. Facebook and MySpace profiles contain extensive information on interests, whileLinkedIn is the preferred social network for professional profiles.

However, postal address is the key piece of information for ecommerce transactions involving physical items or sensitive services such as banking and this is rarely part of the social data package. Updating could also be an issue. Social media profiles change continuously and refreshing that data will require a repeatcustomer visit – rather different to batch updating postcodes. “Not everyone uses social media so there won’t be complete coverage and most people won’t have their name and address on Facebook,” says Emma Gooderham, Managing Director of Allies Computing. “But it could be valuable depending on the business that you’re in and who you want to target.”

need for a PAF licence.” In fact this model is already in place to some extent at QAS.With access to parent Experian’s data treasury, the company has long offered a huge range of reference data, from business demographics and consumer names to multiple flavours of geodems classifications and grid codes. “We work with a number of partners to make

address data available for over 200 countries,” says Malyon. “This is done via a mixture of data processed by us and web services linked to our products. We are seeing more data owners offering web services which will make it quicker and easier to provide reference data via our hosted and on-premise solutions.” Danish quality vendor iDQ takes access to

third-party reference data further by not only adding many more options for tagging, but also by querying internal databases to pull out existing data and prevent duplication. Already used by the likes of Q8 and Dong

Energy, the company’s iDQ Framework brings together this external and internal data via a front-end search engine.

“It’s an expansion of rapid addressing,” says

International Partner Manager Henrik Sørensen. “With iDQ, you can pull data from different sources and mash it up in one contact screen. It’s an interactive real-time product that lets you go out and see what’s known about that customer internally or externally.”

“We’d be happy to supply our feeds via a third party – with a transaction-based charge, there’d be no need for a PAF licence.” Tony Reynolds,

Technical Director, Arc En Ciel

Of course, this kind of rapid addressing combined with dedupe-on-entry function has

been around for years (and is now a standard offering from helpIT Systems), but used to involve much expensive software integration work and locally-held reference data. What is new is the ease with which agents can use iDQ to query remote multiple data sets in order to add details like phone, email and so forth to a new customer record, all with no error-prone manual data entry required.

“With iDQ, you can pull data from

different sources and mash it up in one contact screen – it’s a real-time product.” Henrik Sorenson, International Partner Manager, iDQ

With such easy access, how long will it be

before an individual can just choose from look-up feeds offered by multiple vendors by visitinga”Data-as-a-Service supermarket”? Unfortunately it’s not quite that simple. “For an individual, the challenge would be the

relationships to source the data and the technology to link it all together, says Malyon. “We’ve done that work already and continue to explore new relationships with the owners of the best reference sets available.” In the case of iDQ, modern service-oriented

standards simplify the connection to internal systems but custom work would still be needed for each implementation.In addition, if multiple datasets are to be used for address look- ups,there will be a need to pre-integrate reference data in order to avoid the need for the end user to choose between competing matches from different sources – unless the data sets are mutually exclusive like the PAF and MR data sets mentioned above.

“If you have conflicting data sets, your customer won’t have a clue,” says Gooderham. “I can see the benefits of a one-stop shop ááá

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