Address validation might seem like an obvious first step for any business that wants to get the most value from its customer information databases. Yet for many organisations, assuming that their system’s data is fully fit for the demands of all business purposes is still a common practice – and one that can have serious detrimental impacts on their business’ effectiveness.
There’s a famous quote, often attributed to Oscar Wilde, that says: “Don’t assume. When you assume, you make an ass out of u and me.” What’s notable about this quote is not just that it rings true when considering the importance of data quality, but also that, on investigation, there is no actual record of Oscar Wilde ever writing it – a fact which nicely proves its point.
When thinking about why it’s vital to ascertain the accuracy of business data, we would do well to reflect on another quote, which is verifiably attributable to Mark Twain: “It ain’t what you don’t know that gets you into trouble. It’s what you know for sure that just ain’t so.”
Another way of describing this is ‘dirty data’ – and it could be costing your business money.
The case for address validation
In the long-ago times, before computer systems became an integral part of business, the inaccuracy of a customer address could only be confirmed when a posted envelope was returned to sender, marked ‘Address Unknown’.
As business systems evolved and became the norm, tools to analyse addresses in databases before they sent ‘dead’ letters began to emerge, along with a methodology for address verification.
Since then, address verification services have become a vital component of the organisational operations of private businesses, not-for-profits, and government agencies, which are administering large and ever-growing databases of customer information for communications and marketing.
Without effectively managed databases, these organisations will struggle to control quality of data, the cost of remediation and ultimately get the most from their data analytics investments and marketing spend – and it all begins with address validation.
Getting address validation right
In most cases, data about people – be they customers, residents, or electors – is stored in a business system that connects them to a verified address. So, it makes sense that if your goal is to get a better understanding of the demographics of your customers, you need to have a reliable way of knowing exactly where they are.
However, if there’s one thing that humans are known for, it’s human error – and this can make address data notoriously difficult to manage. Misspelled place names or designations, inconsistent abbreviations, as well as simple variations in formatting all contribute to the messiness that leads to dirty data.
What’s more, if you need to work across more than one database, chances are good that there will be conflicting information about a customer present in both databases that needs to be reconciled somehow. Another layer of challenge is that individual databases tend to operate by their own rules depending on what they were originally structured to do, meaning they are only fit for one purpose.
Clearly, without an effective address validation process taking place, customer databases can quickly become inaccurate and unreliable as data analytics tools, which in turn leads to a diminishing capacity for them to generate business – so it’s crucial to get address validation right.
In today’s increasingly dynamic business environment, which is facing so many challenges both locally and globally, ensuring data quality through address validation is not a ‘nice-to-have’ – it’s a ‘must have’ for gaining customer insights for building your in-house data science capabilities.
Address validation with IQ Office
If your organisation is struggling with dirty data and in dire need of an address validation service that will get your data analytics back on track, Intech has the solution.
IQ Office is a comprehensive software solution with an address validation API that can successfully bridge the gap between traditional databases and spatial-based location databases, providing you an efficient and reliable address verification service in real time.
The IQ Office solution features an integrated set of components that will take care of the data profiling, standardisation, record matching, and de-duplication processes that are essential for database address validation.
Driven by established and well-proven matching rules, the algorithms built-in to IQ Office can analyse incomplete or inaccurate data such as typos, missing address attributes, vanity/alias addresses, corner addresses and many other issues that can arise from human error.
We invite you to get in touch with Intech today for a confidential discussion on how the IQ Office solution can help you get your address validation right – and stop ‘dirty data’ losing you business.
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Intech provides data solutions that lay a secure foundation for robust, cost-effective and timely business transformation. Intech’s products have been successfully deployed to thousands of users, across hundreds of sites. See intechsolutions.com.au