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Feature: The Next Wave of Data Management

The search for better data management practices has led to data stewardship and data governance efforts, but confusion over roles and disconnects between IT and the business have led to gaps in cooperation. The next wave will bring customer data integration and master data management initiatives that promise to relieve business experts from the drudgery of defining and maintaining customer data, while developers will dodge the chaos of point-to-point integration.

It's one thing to understand the strategic value of data, but when your entire brand revolves around information, there's a lot at stake. As the leading provider of research services to a range of industries, from commercial businesses to law enforcement, the very foundation of LexisNexis is information.

As much a technology business as an information provider, LexisNexis offers a comprehensive range of information and solutions. The company's U. S. Legal Markets (USLM) business alone supports more than 3 million subscribers through various entry points such as order processing, contact management and call-center functions.

"We needed to consolidate our data from multiple sources," explains Gordon Schick, LexisNexis' vice president of enterprise information solutions. "The vision was to create a single customer view ... and enable our USLM group to be more effective in the way they treat customers based on an aggregated view of more than 3 million subscribers."

Technically seasoned, the team thought of leveraging its incumbent CRM and data warehouse platforms. It even considered building a customer data integration (CDI) solution in-house. Schick and his team rigorously addressed their business requirements, understanding that their incumbent solutions weren't designed for the real-time subscriber data reconciliation and matching mandated by the business.

In late 2004, the firm selected the Siperian Master Reference Manager (MRM) product. The solution took eight months to deliver and provides an integrated foundation for both operational and analytic processing of subscriber data. It consolidates data from seven different LexisNexis source systems.

The company's new CDI Hub has significantly decreased the time and labor required to resolve data duplication and matching issues, while increasing data accuracy--match rates alone are three times higher than in the pre-CDI environment. Customer-facing staff can now simply access assigned accounts that have been deduplicated and that include all accompanying agreements and contracts.

The CDI Hub has also streamlined data migration in support of the company's recent Siebel upgrade. With more seamless access to operational systems, bidirectional data correction and the elimination of duplicate contract and customer records, LexisNexis is getting more from its CRM investment than ever. In fact, Siperian MRM has become the cornerstone architecture for the company's CRM initiative, so it will soon map to new sources and be tailored to meet any Siebel-specific requirements.

With measurable improvement in subscriber data matching and data quality, LexisNexis has reduced the number of lost sales opportunities and has tracked revenue increases to its new CDI capabilities.

"We now truly have a single customer view," Schick says, "and it has more than justified the investment." --Jill Dyché