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CASE STUDY - American Heart Association Builds a Unified View of the Customer

Commentary by Jon Gerush, Manager, Data Integration and Management, American Heart Association
The Business

The American Heart Association is a national voluntary health agency whose mission is to build healthier lives, free of cardiovascular diseases and stroke. The nonprofit organization is committed to fighting heart disease and stroke as well as raising awareness of these diseases. As part of its mission, the organization focuses on specific causes designed to help people achieve a hearthealthy lifestyle.

The Challenge

After years of adding new systems to track customer information (including healthcare professionals, donors, committee members, and newsletter subscribers), the American Heart Association faced a customer data integration (CDI) problem. The IT infrastructure included multiple customer data stores for different business units.

With multiple applications containing more than 14 million names, often housed in disparate, disconnected systems, the organization had no reliable way to manage donors across these systems. The staff had difficulty reconciling these disparate views or understanding an individual’s true value across the organization. With this effort, they could effectively work toward a centralized repository of customer information that gave the organization the ability to put quality data into the hands of business users.

While the initial data quality project focused on standardizing addresses and identifying duplicates rather than a classic CDI solution, the company expected that any application selected should contribute to a future CDI implementation. The selected application needed to stand on its own and to have proven value within and outside of CDI initiatives. The solution needed to be external to the enterprise applications (i.e., CRM) so that it could be leveraged to improve data quality for several internal and external data sources.

The DataFlux Solution

The American Heart Association chose dfPower Studio and the DataFlux Integration Server to meet its needs. dfPower Studio allowed business users to create advanced matching rules using the system’s advanced fuzzy matching capabilities, seeking out duplicate records and consolidating customer data into a single master record. The Data- Flux Integration Server provides the ability to extend rules and policies created in dfPower Studio throughout the enterprise.

dfPower Studio helped enhance the value of contact information through standardizing and validating postal information, assigning gender to customer records, and moving information such as prefix, suffix, and lineage into the proper fields. These rules provide the foundation for CDI efforts, providing a single repository of data quality processes.

The Results

With DataFlux solutions in place, the American Heart Association is transforming its customer information into high quality data.By deduplicating data across systems, the organization had a real foundation for more in-depth master data management (MDM) efforts.

“The dfPower Studio interface is easy to use and intuitive,” says Jon Gerush, manager of data integration and management for the American Heart Association. “This certainly helped our staff understand data quality issues during profiling and allowed for the fast implementation of data quality and data integration jobs, which could then be embedded into other jobs.”

DataFlux technology is alleviating the organization’s duplicate customer data issues. The American Heart Association now manages more than 12 million customers in its Siebel systems with less than five percent overall duplicates. With better data, the organization has begun to expose processes to other data stores, integrating these multiple databases to create a foundation for a true CDI initiative. For the American Heart Association, the decision to take a phased approach to MDM provided real benefits, as it allowed the organization to create a data quality and data integration framework that could drive both current and future data management efforts.

“DataFlux technology provided a method to analyze, improve, and control our vital donor information. From a services and support standpoint, DataFlux always made the organization feel special,” says Gerush. “DataFlux staff was quick to respond to any inquiries through a combination of professional services, online support, and the customer portal.”

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