Software // Information Management
Commentary
8/30/2005
06:35 PM
Commentary
Commentary
Commentary
Connect Directly
RSS
E-Mail
50%
50%

Understanding Customers' Many Tongues

Suppose you're a multi-billion dollar distributor with millions of parts in your catalog, but your customers send in quote requests in myriad formats, including XML files, spreadsheets, delimited lists and Word files. That's exactly the situation at electronics giant Avenet, which is using something called "semantics integration" to intelligently decipher the abstract communication coming from its buyers.

Suppose you're a multi-billion dollar distributor with millions of parts in your catalog, but your customers send in quote requests in myriad formats, including XML files, spreadsheets, delimited lists and Word files. That's exactly the situation at electronics giant Avenet, which is using something called "semantics integration" to intelligently decipher the abstract communication coming from its buyers.Allowing customers to communicate with you in whatever way they want is smart business. On some levels, computerization demands homogeneity. Cleanly formatted data is, after all, more easily analyzed and understood. But customers don't all talk the same, or in the same formats.

Avnet's use of semantic integration goes beyond extract, transform and load (ETL) or enterprise information integration (EII). It involves interpreting long, textual descriptions, abbreviations and a mix of descriptive attributes in either structured or semi-structured formats.

Avnet's story isn't just about interpreting a data mix that's almost as varied as customers themselves. It's also about letting customers communicate the way they want to, rather than conforming their requests to some templated format that might not allow them to convey everything to they want to communicate. It's not just about being smart. It's about being accommodating. And that's good business.

Comment  | 
Print  | 
More Insights
The Agile Archive
The Agile Archive
When it comes to managing data, donít look at backup and archiving systems as burdens and cost centers. A well-designed archive can enhance data protection and restores, ease search and e-discovery efforts, and save money by intelligently moving data from expensive primary storage systems.
Register for InformationWeek Newsletters
White Papers
Current Issue
InformationWeek - September 2, 2014
Avoiding audits and vendor fines isn't enough. Take control of licensing to exact deeper software discounts and match purchasing to actual employee needs.
Flash Poll
Video
Slideshows
Twitter Feed
InformationWeek Radio
Archived InformationWeek Radio
Howard Marks talks about steps to take in choosing the right cloud storage solutions for your IT problems
Sponsored Live Streaming Video
Everything You've Been Told About Mobility Is Wrong
Attend this video symposium with Sean Wisdom, Global Director of Mobility Solutions, and learn about how you can harness powerful new products to mobilize your business potential.