RESEARCH & RESOURCES

CASE STUDY - ALSTOM Power Fuels Success with Customer Data Management

Commentary by Daniel Teachey, Corporate Communications Director,
DataFlux Corporation

The Business

ALSTOM is a global leader in energy and transport infrastructure. The company serves the energy market through its activities in power generation, and the transport market through its rail and marine activities. ALSTOM employs 75,000 people in over 70 countries worldwide.

The Challenge

For any company with operations across multiple locations, it is difficult to get a true view of the enterprise across geographic and corporate boundaries. ALSTOM Power, a division of ALSTOM, has multiple business systems—including enterprise resource planning (ERP) and customer relation management (CRM)—that contain customer information. Previously, this information was not standardized, and contained duplicate data within and across these systems.

ALSTOM’s global corporate strategy of “One Face to the Customer” drove ALSTOM Power’s Data Warehouse group to develop a “customer information broker.” This broker provides a single representation of each customer identity, along with a cross-reference to each business system’s source record.

For ALSTOM, the customer information broker does not create new information. Rather, it systematically generates a single customer identity based on a modular-designed architecture. This modular design includes data-driven relationships, application-oriented business rules, and user-selected overrides, all of which define how each data element in the customer identity record is populated. For instance, the customer name comes from system A, the street address comes from system B, and the postal code comes from system C. To accomplish this, ALSTOM needed a solution that could:

  • Standardize each customer record while maintaining the original value
  • Group similar customer entries to remove duplication
  • Match according to multiple criteria to increase the potential of positive matches
  • Define parent-child relationships, enabling reporting at any customer hierarchy level (holding company, operating company, plant/site, etc.)

“Our data quality issues aren’t any worse than other organizations our size, and we have just as much difficulty getting a clear picture of our information,” said Mike Sykes, U.S. data warehouse manager at ALSTOM. “To achieve ‘One Face to the Customer,’ however, we needed to increase our level of data quality dramatically.”

casestudy alstom

Figure 1: An easy-to-use workflow builder allows users to perform complex routines, such as address verification, data standardization, and de-duplication, in a single pass of the data.
The DataFlux Solution

ALSTOM Power selected dfPower Studio, a data management solution from DataFlux, to help build a more comprehensive view of its customers. dfPower Studio offered ALSTOM Power a variety of features, including comprehensive data standardization and de-duplication capabilities, USPS address verification, prebuilt rules that streamlined initial deployment, and transportable rules logic that enables the transfer of rules to other dfPower Studio installations. The architecture of the DataFlux product suite also provides the scalability that will be needed as ALSTOM’s data-quality activities mature.

“The first iteration of our customer information broker utilized 25,000 customer records from four business systems,” Sykes says. “With dfPower Studio, we created a predictable and repeatable process for generating multiple matching scenarios across our business systems. This was a key feature, as it allowed us to select the highest positive match, which in turn reduced our de-duplication effort.”

The Results

“dfPower Studio has performed beyond our expectations and is an integral component of our customer information broker infrastructure,” Sykes says. “The software has an intuitive GUI and allows us to customize the underlying standardization and matching logic to meet our needs.”

With dfPower Studio, ALSTOM Power has more accurate customer data, resulting in more accurate reports of customer activity. For example, customer revenues are now reported in the 97 percent accuracy range—an achievement that would be almost impossible without a data management solution.

“dfPower Studio allows ALSTOM to view customer information with greater accuracy than ever before,” Sykes says. “This translates into real business benefits for ALSTOM, our customers, and our vendors.”

This article originally appeared in the issue of .

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