Alliance & Leicester is using low-cost software to help it eradicate "dirty data" and comply with an industry agreement on sharing customer account information.
The financial services group has purchased software from Datanomic for less than £10,000 to underpin its data cleansing programme.
By 2007 lenders will be required to guarantee a high level of accuracy on shared customer data passed between banks under the Credit Account Information Sharing Scheme, which promotes responsible lending.
To comply with the scheme, Alliance & Leicester will have to scan 12 million customer records in its back-office systems to check for inaccuracies, such as mis-spellings and out-of-date information. The software can run on desktop PCs and will receive data from mainframes.
"The software from Datanomic has enabled Alliance & Leicester to embark on a process to understand its data quality issues and detect the source and detail of any discrepancies" said John Pridmore, senior manager for data quality at Alliance & Leicester.
Pridmore would not speculate on how much inaccurate data the Alliance & Leicester records contained. "Ours is a data-driven enterprise with responsibility for £6bn of lending a year and complex regulations - there is no margin for error," he said.
In addition to helping Alliance & Leicester comply with the Credit Account Sharing Scheme, Pridmore said the data cleansing exercise would save the IT department about 10-15 man-days a year.
"[The software] will mean that I am not going to the IT department and getting them to write bespoke [data checking] queries for me," he said.
Benefits of the data cleansing exercise
The Datanomic software combines data audit, cleaning, error-prevention and compliance functions for enterprise systems. The rules-based software was originally developed for a user in the oil and gas industry.
Data cleansing will help Alliance & Leicester comply with the Credit Account Information Sharing Scheme, which is due to come into force in 2007 and operates in line with the Data Protection Act
More accurate customer data will help improve marketing and sales initiatives and will also be used by customer relationship management software l IT staff will spend less time having to write data queries.