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CASE STUDY - SMARTech Taps Total Data Quality Platform to Consolidate and Build Consistent Data Across Data Sets

Commentary by Jeff Averbeck, CEO, SMARTech

SMARTech is a leading provider of complex hosting, network services, and advanced Internet applications for enterprises that outsource their IT infrastructure. The company, whose parent firm is AirNet, provides a wide array of services, including Internet connectivity, disaster and data recovery services, audio and video streaming, VOIP services, Web hosting, co-location, and broadcast e-mail services.

For years, SMARTech/AirNet relied on applications developed by external vendors for their data hygiene, enhancement, and matching of data.

“Our previous vendor of data quality tools was a large software provider for whom their data quality tools were just another product off the shelf,” said Jeff Averbeck, president and CEO of SMARTech/AirNet. “Integration within our proprietary applications—and even use of their product—was only done by select consultants … there were limited resources and a shallow knowledge base for the tools. Further compounding the problem was the instability within the ownership of the tools, the product having been purchased by three different companies (with different visions for the product) over the course of a few years.”

The company’s reliance on external vendors proved to be a challenge when implementing its smartCommunicator® product. smartCommunicator is the award-winning communication portal that integrates disparate data sources into a data-centric hub that customers can use for consumer and constituent engagement. The portal features several modules, including:

  • smartMailer allows users to manage and send millions of e-mail messages per hour with a 95 percent or better deliverability rate
  • smartAnalyser provides real-time analytics to determine ROI for marketing tactics
  • smartData automatically cleans, standardizes, enhances, matches, and provides change-of-address updates to client data through the upload process

The main challenge was integrating disparate data sources into a data-centric hub for the purposes of consumer and constituent engagement, Averbeck said.

It was essential to utilize a data quality solution to help SMARTech/AirNet gain a single, accurate, and organized view of their customers by consolidating data across different data sources.

SMARTech chose to implement Melissa Data’s Total Data Quality Integration Toolkit (TDQ-IT). TDQ-IT is a complete enterprise platform that works within the SQL Server’s Integration Services (SSIS) data flow to deliver a wide range of data integration, transformation, cleansing, and enrichment functionality. TDQ-IT resides at the hub of the import tool for the smartData module within the smartCommunicator application.

“Name, address, geocoder, phone, and e-mail verification components, or transforms, are all put into action as each individual data upload is scrubbed and merged into a single, uniform data set, creating a single anchor record per individual from which our customers operate multimillion-record mass communications strategies,” Averbeck said. “The toolkit’s ease of integration has also expanded our ability to provide customer-specific, data-based applications, ensuring that all data entering the applications is uniform, standardized, and cleansed.”

Integrating TDQ-IT into the organization’s workflow was seamless. “Rather than spending countless sums of money on training and specialized staff, it has been a breeze getting staffers who are already familiar with SQL’s tools up and running with the new toolkit,” he said.

Utilizing TDQ-IT proved to be a successful venture for SMARTech/AirNet. “Processing data within existing SSIS jobs, rather than relying on unstable Web service/command prompt calls, has increased our productivity and greatly stabilized the application as a whole … TDQ-IT’s existence within the SQL Server Integration Services suite has enabled the company to build robust, stable ETL tools—in many cases, customizing data transforms to the specific needs of our clients,” Averbeck said.

For a free white paper on this topic from Melissa Data, click here and choose the title “Six Steps to Managing Data Quality with SQL Server Integration Services.” For more free white papers, click here.

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