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Volvo makes a customer list and checks it more than twice

As anyone with a Christmas card list on a PC knows, keeping track of the annual changes in a list of just 30 names and addresses can take significant time.

Imagine the job a development team faces during development of a CRM application based on 300,000 customer names and addresses. Imagine that the vast majority of entries are duplicates with variations on names and spellings, along with myriad errors in street numbers and zip codes.

That was the task taken on this year by Debra Hudson, project manager, applications development for Volvo Information Technology, a technology solutions subsidiary of the Volvo Group, including Renault Trucks and Mack Trucks, plus other customers. Hudson explained how the CRM project was undertaken this week during a Webinar sponsored by Trillium Software.

Hudson said the eight-month project called for Volvo IT consultants to take 300,000 entries in multiple customer databases and create a single database for CRM and business intelligence applications. Using Trillium Software tools for identifying problems, such as duplications, Volvo IT developers were able to reduce the 300,000 entries to a more manageable 65,000, she explained.

Hudson offered an example of how customer databases can become so cluttered that CRM applications, as well as maintenance and management, are negatively impacted.

''We had one particular customer with over 50 different variations of name, address, city, state and postal code information for this one customer,'' she said. ''We had information coming from many different systems with many different edits and, prior to the implementation of Trillium, no validation against a standard postal code directory. Through the validation and matching process we were able to reduce these 50 different occurrences into one uniquely identified customer. That can give you a feeling for the sort of decrease in management time that would result from just maintaining that one customer, instead of 50 potential different customer instances.''

With an almost 80% reduction in the size of the customer database and the elimination of duplicate and inaccurate information, the sales organization in this Volvo IT case study now has a real-time CRM system, Hudson said. The marketing staff can use it to target key customers for special promotions with some confidence that direct mail advertising is reaching the right people at the right addresses.

For more information on Trillium Software or to view a replay of the Webinar, ''Trillium Software Helps Drive Home Data Quality at Volvo IT,'' click on http://www.trilliumsoftware.com.

For information on Volvo IT, click on http://www.Volvo.com.

About the Author

Rich Seeley is Web Editor for Campus Technology.

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