Data profiling saves Abbey £15.2m

Abbey National has saved an estimated £15.2m by using data profiling and analysis software to help the bank make better use of...

Abbey National has saved an estimated £15.2m by using data profiling and analysis software to help the bank make better use of customer data.

The data profiling software from Avellino cost Abbey National £35,000 in project and set-up costs, excluding software licences.

The software allows the bank to assess the state of its customer data in existing databases and ensure its integrity before it is mapped into datawarehouses from peripheral data stores. It checks how fields are populated and whether the information held in the fields is what is expected.

Such moves are an important IT task for banks, giving greater visibility of customer data so it can be used in a more targeted way.

Duncan Brown, an analyst with Ovum, said, "The problem is common for first- and second-tier financial organisations. It is a legacy problem in that every product was on a different system.

"The difficulty it is trying to tackle is to get a single view of the customer. Firms have tackled this problem in different ways, from scrapping all the data and starting again, using application integration technology or deploying some sort of datawarehousing technology."

Vicki Peacock, head of information strategy and quality at Abbey National, said, "The manual effort is small in relation to the quality of analysis gained. We are able to have a greater understanding of our relationship with our customer and to offer them suitable products.

We have greater confidence in customer information, can gain a better return on marketing campaigns and make savings on mailings through better targeting.

"Its primary use has been in two areas: to understand the data in projects involving its migration and to proactively manage the governance of the data. In other words, to ensure that where the integrity of data is important, it is protected and no damage can be done. In addition, it helps with benchmarking and analytics."

A clear view of the data must be gained before mapping a business case for its potential use. Then, once the data is migrated, its integrity can be ensured.

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