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Identity Resolution Daily Links 2008-5-30

Friday, May 30th, 2008

[Post from Infoglide] Mistaken Identity Resolution Part V: Identity Resolution vs. Data Quality

“In this series of posts on Mistaken Identity Resolution we have compared identity resolution with other market spaces that it’s sometimes confused with, such as Master Data Management (MDM), data integration, and data warehousing. With Informatica’s recent acquisition of Identity Systems, now’s a good time to address the confusion between identity resolution and data quality.”

The Daily News Tribune: Shoplifting a matter of opportunity

“LaRocca said the theft of items that are specifically targeted can be associated with the economic status of the country, however a direct correlation is difficult to make. ‘The economy is just one of a number of different triggers. It is not the driving force behind it,’ LaRocca said. ‘The largest factor is always the opportunity.’ . . . Last year, retailers nationwide lost $40.5 billion worth of merchandise due to theft. . . . That monetary loss, he said, is unfortunately passed on to honest consumers who must pay higher prices. According to National Retailers Federation, consumers pay 1.5 cents more per dollar spent because of the toll shoplifting takes on retail business. Furthermore, when merchandise is stolen, no one is paying sales tax to the state, he said.”

Government Computer News: Big Brother may listen in Britain

“The British government’s Home Office reportedly is considering building a massive database of virtually all the electronic communications generated by residents of the United Kingdom, including voice and data communications along with Web site views and other online traffic.”

Andy on Enterprise Software: A Burning Platform

“I was amused by a piece regarding data quality in which a data quality initiative at a chemical manufacturer was kicked off only after a warehouse burnt down and the company discovered that they had no way of tracing which customers would be affected.”

STORES Knowledge Series: Refunds Management: Balancing Customer Service and Loss Prevention (Free Webinar)

“Retailers are continually challenged with balancing good customer service and loss prevention. Good customer service breeds loyalty and has a strong impact on top-line revenue. Refunds management practices and tools provide retailers with a well-managed solution that can provide top- and bottom-line revenue and profit. Join us as we explore the refunds challenge, tools and practices in place today that can offer a way to manage the refund process, and explore emerging tools that can set your stores apart from the competition.”

PogoWasRight.org: Department of Homeland Security Information Sharing Strategy

“The Department’s Information Sharing Strategy provides strategic direction and guidance for all Department of Homeland Security information sharing efforts.”

Forbes.com: Supermarket group stocked $1.4M into 1Q lobbying

“The Food Marketing Institute, the trade group for food retailers and wholesalers, spent nearly $1.4 million in the first quarter to lobby on food safety, public health and other issues, according to a disclosure report. . . . FMI also lobbied on retail pharmacy and Medicaid drug reimbursement, credit card interchange fees, identity theft, organized retail crime, and pension, wage and tax issues, according to the report filed April 21 with the House clerk’s office.”

Mistaken Identity Resolution Part V: Identity Resolution vs. Data Quality

Wednesday, May 28th, 2008

By Robert Barker, Infoglide Senior Vice President & Chief Marketing Officer

In this series of posts on Mistaken Identity Resolution we have compared identity resolution with other market spaces that it’s sometimes confused with, such as Master Data Management (MDM), data integration, and data warehousing. With Informatica’s recent acquisition of Identity Systems, now’s a good time to address the confusion between identity resolution and data quality.

A Gartner study done several years ago estimated that poor quality customer data costs U.S. businesses an estimated $611 billion dollars a year [see correction]. So obviously data quality is a very important component of data management.

Data quality is defined by Whatis.com as “the reliability and effectiveness of data… maintaining data quality requires going through the data periodically and scrubbing it. Typically this involves updating it, standardizing it, and de-duplicating records to create a single view of the data, even if it is stored in multiple disparate systems.”

Identity resolution is defined by wikipedia as the process that “analyzes all of the information relating to individuals and/or entities from multiple sources of data, and then applies likelihood and probability scoring to determine which identities are a match and what, if any, non-obvious relationships exist between those identities.”

So while both data quality and identity resolution seek to create a unified view of the data and determine which entities are the same, identity resolution takes the process further by also determining which entities are related.

While both technologies can de-dupe data records, identity resolution adds powerful matching functions to data quality, so numerous patterns that otherwise would go undetected are uncovered quickly and accurately. These data patterns include multi-cultural name and address matching, character insertions/deletions, nicknames, abbreviations, transpositions, repetitions, etc. And perhaps the most valuable reason for incorporating identity resolution into data quality is being able to automate the decision process and integrate it into existing business processes. Specific rules can be applied to the intelligence gathered from search, relationship, and identity results, and an explicit action executed based on business requirements.

Perhaps instead of asking how data quality and identity resolution differ, the better question to ask is, “Are you risking poor data quality if identity resolution is absent?”

Identity Resolution Daily Links 2008-5-23

Friday, May 23rd, 2008

Note: There will be no post on Monday as we will be observing Memorial Day. Enjoy your holiday weekend, and we hope to ’see’ you back here on Wednesday.

[Post from Infoglide] Partners in Crime Fighting

“eBay and other online auction services have taken some heat from retailers and Congress because organized retail crime rings and other shoplifters are using these types of services for e-fencing. It’s a bit of a dilemma for these sites because if they do the right thing, and reduce e-fencing on their sites, they lose revenue, which is certainly something no business, public or private, wants to do.”

The 451 Group (requires free registration): An MDM acquisition: the next deal for Informatica?

“Through a combination of homegrown and acquired software, Informatica now has all the requisite pieces for a complete MDM offering – data access, data analysis and profiling, data correction, cleansing, data transformation and now identity management – but not an actual MDM platform itself. It therefore seems logical to us that once the company has digested Identity, a deal scheduled to close in May, it will start eyeing an MDM target to provide a complete offering.”

WKYC.com: Shoplifting: A $40 billion enterprise

“A National Retail Federation study indicates 75 percent of businesses have found their shoplifted items for sale on the internet. . . . Bokovitz said increased incidents of shoplifting are directly related to the state legislature’s decision to drop progressive sentencing on theft related crimes. The penalties for shoplifting no longer increase with the number of times you commit the crime. So who really pays the price? ‘Me and you, the consumer, everybody who plays by the rules because our costs just went up,’ Bokovitz said.”

Netrics HD: The Monk Factor

“It’s great to see that simply collecting customer data is no longer good enough - the data needs to be usable to benefit the business. ‘Refining customer data quality and access to customer data have emerged as two of the top marketing investment priorities of b-to-b CMOs this year. Half of b-to-b marketers plan to put more resources against creating marketing databases, cleaning up customer data, improving sales force automation and CRM integration, according to Forrester Research in its “B2B CMO Investment Priorities for 2008” report.’”

PogoWasRight.org: DHS to monitor access to IT systems

“Government employees, contractors and consultants with access to Homeland Security Department computer systems are among those whose names and personal information will be kept in a newly created database, according to a notice posted in the Federal Register.”

DMReview: Master Data Management and Service-Oriented Architecture

“One of the many ‘hidden benefits’ of a successful master data management (MDM) strategy is the contribution it can make to your enterprise’s move toward a service-oriented architecture (SOA).”

Partners in Crime Fighting

Wednesday, May 21st, 2008

eBay and other online auction services have taken some heat from retailers and Congress because organized retail crime rings and other shoplifters are using these types of services for e-fencing. It’s a bit of a dilemma for these sites because if they do the right thing, and reduce e-fencing on their sites, they lose revenue, which is certainly something no business, public or private, wants to do.

But eBay seems to be doing the right thing and has dedicated resources to addressing this problem. They have established the Global Law Enforcement Organization (GLEO) to “promote the safe use of their platforms and to collaborate with local, federal and international law enforcement to:

  • Help keep the community safe
  • Enforce policies
  • Prosecute fraudsters”

They also have a partnership with LeadsOnline that allows law enforcement to locate sellers of possible stolen goods that are being listed on their site.

This is key because even when retailers have a really strong case against a seller, it takes a lot of time to find the seller and work with law enforcement to prosecute them. With eBay’s partnerships with LeadsOnline and law enforcement, retailers can more quickly and easily recover stolen goods and catch the bad guys.

But are we putting the cart before the horse? This takes care of the catching and retrieving part but how do the retailers find the stolen merchandise and the crooks? Well, they can do this either manually or they can automate the process. With the first option, retailers assign investigators to manually monitor online auction sites, checking goods for sale against lists of merchandise that have been stolen from their stores. Obviously this is time and resource consuming.

Luckily there’s an easier way. Infoglide Software’s Online Auction Monitoring solution automatically monitors online auction sites for merchandise that is a strong possible match for stolen goods. Online Auction Monitoring can also tap into other key sources of data such as human resources, vendors, reward programs, and incidents databases, so not only can retailers be alerted of a nefarious seller, but they can also know that the seller is an employee or customer of their store.

In a recent study with a regional grocer, Infoglide Software monitored 17 ‘high-risk items’ on a popular auction site for just five days. At the end of the monitoring period, more than 30 unique sellers were identified as having a history of selling many high-risk items over the previous 90 days.

So though e-fencing continues to be significant source of lost revenue for retailers, there are now tools and resources available to address this problem. Retailers now have their own partners in crime fighting.

Identity Resolution Daily Links 2008-5-19

Monday, May 19th, 2008

FurnitureToday: High tech security keeps shrinkage down

“Point-of-sale monitoring also is on the increase, allowing retailers to collect and analyze information on every transaction, thereby identifying trends and unusual patterns in each store. . . . ‘There are a number of new technology tools available to help retailers operate more efficiently, including intelligent cameras and software that can help detect criminal activity,’ said ADT’s Bean.”

b-eye.com - Business Intelligence Network - Blog: Jill Dyche: My Podcast Posse at TDWI

“Anyway, I got to interview a stellar crew last week and thought I’d highlight them here:”

Concurring Opinions: My New Book, Understanding Privacy

“I am very happy to announce the publication of my new book, UNDERSTANDING PRIVACY (Harvard University Press, May 2008). There has been a longstanding struggle to understand what ‘privacy’ means and why it is valuable. Professor Arthur Miller once wrote that privacy is ‘exasperatingly vague and evanescent.’ In this book, I aim to develop a clear and accessible theory of privacy, one that will provide useful guidance for law and policy.”

Homeland Security Watch: Chertoff, FEMA Chief Meet with HLSwatch Today

“The third ‘blogger roundtable’ convenes this afternoon, this time the Secretary of Homeland Security is accompanied by the head of FEMA to discuss the upcoming hurricane season. . . . Submit a comment below if you have any specific questions in this general subject area that you would like raised during the roundtable.”

ebiz: Informatica Completes Acquisition Of Identity Systems

“‘Together, Identity Systems and Informatica will provide a new generation of innovative technology to meet the demands of organizations in today’s global information economy,’ said Ivan Chong, General Manager of Informatica’s Data Quality Business Unit. ‘More so than ever before, corporations and governments need identity resolution integrated with data quality initiatives across their enterprises.’”

Identity Resolution Daily Links 2008-5-16

Friday, May 16th, 2008

[Post from Infoglide] When Your Business Knowledge of Identity Theft Gets Personal

“Identity theft is a scary aspect in both the business world and your own personal life. When those two worlds blend and it touches your child, the knowledge you’ve gained about fraud risk becomes the foremost thought in your mind, and you automatically fear the worst-case scenario.”

Yahoo! Finance: Informatica’s Acquisition of Nokia’s Identity Systems Completed

Nokia (NYSE: NOK - News) and Informatica Corporation (NASDAQ: INFA - News) today announced that Informatica, the leading independent provider of data integration software, has completed the acquisition of Identity Systems, which was initially announced on April 17, 2008.”

The Wall Street Journal: Getting in Line: Fliers Self-Sort At Security

“In an effort to ease traveler anxiety and maybe even improve airport security, the Transportation Security Administration is rolling out a new setup where fliers are asked to self-segregate into different screening lanes depending on their security prowess. There are lanes for ‘Expert Travelers,’ who know the drill cold; ‘Casual Travelers,’ who run the airport gauntlet infrequently; and people with small children or special needs who move slowly through screening.”

The 451 Group (free registration required): Informatica buys itself a new identity with its $85m purchase of Identity Systems

“Rumors have continued to swirl around Informatica (Nasdaq: INFA) as a candidate ripe for acquisition. But the company’s announcement on April 17 to buy Identity Systems, a Nokia (NYSE: NOK) subsidiary, to expand its data integration portfolio places it more in the acquirer camp than the target camp – at least for now. . . . Infoglide Software is probably the best known of the independent players in the identity resolution sector, which has clearly consolidated a great deal over the past few years. Could Infoglide now be a target for acquisition from a vendor with fervent ambitions in data integration, MDM and BI such as Microsoft (Nasdaq: MSFT) or SAS Institute?”

Save Borrow Spend: Many Brits do not think fraud is wrong, research suggests

“A total of 1.2 million Brits do not think it is wrong to tell a lie when making an insurance claim, according to a new study from RSA.”

OnStrategies Perspectives: Not Your Father’s Data Cleansing

“Admittedly, you could do a more primitive form of the same task with a traditional name/address verification tool; however getting rough matches is not the same thing as providing authoritative answers when you deal with names that are common, such as Smith or Jones in North America, or for that matter Bin Laden in the Mideast. Similarly, having versions of name/address verification tools in different languages isn’t new either. But again, this all child’s play compared to the challenge of verifying identity, which requires pattern matching that also accounts for context, not to mention real-time search capabilities (most data quality tools have traditionally been batch-driven). Demand for identity verification capabilities is obvious, given the plagues of identity theft, financial fraud, and world terrorism, not to mention more positive goals such as providing real-time credit verifications or managing patient electronic health records for care that may be delivered through multiple entities.”

When Your Business Knowledge of Identity Theft Gets Personal

Wednesday, May 14th, 2008

By Ann Cunningham, Director, Americas Marketing, ACI Worldwide

Identity theft is a scary aspect in both the business world and your own personal life. When those two worlds blend and it touches your child, the knowledge you’ve gained about fraud risk becomes the foremost thought in your mind, and you automatically fear the worst-case scenario.

My 18-year-old son recently traveled with his classmates on his first international trip. He had the task to acquire his passport. He knew a passport was an important, government issued document required to travel outside the country and valid for 10 years. Before he left for his trip, I had discussions with him about the risk of identity theft if he lost his passport and about the importance of protecting his passport by keeping it safe.

To make a long story short, my son lost his passport after re-entering the United States, somewhere between his connecting flight and home. Because I had discussed this very danger with him several times, I went over the edge when he told me he lost it. He had a 50 percent chance of a good person finding it and returning it and a 50 percent chance of my worst nightmare - a crook finding it and selling it.

I told my son about scenario No. 2 and how the “new boy” from Eastern Europe would be arriving in the U.S. in two days with his name, his address and his picture. With few organizations using identity resolution-based analysis, it wouldn’t be long after that the new boy would have a driver’s license with his own photograph and my son’s name, and later the new boy would have my son’s social security number to open new bank and credit accounts, and my son would have a mountain of credit debt in his name. This hit home with him, and his fear was insurmountable.

Because I work in an industry that provides fraud detection and prevention solutions to financial institutions and retailers, I am well aware of the dangers of identity theft and the consequences of it. I’ve read the studies indicating that as many as 9 million Americans fall victim to identity theft every year and that, without identity resolution technologies, the result can range from a mountain of fraudulent debt to a false criminal record.

Working at a company that provides e-payment solutions, I also know the tools available today to help detect identity theft: search engines, neural networks, rules based systems, identity resolution and entity analysis, comparative analytics, and account monitoring tactics. Although these can’t stop a criminal from stealing my son’s or anyone else’s identity given the opportunity, these solutions can stop a criminal from using his or your identity.

Although consumers should take responsibility for protecting their identity in every way possible, not all of them do. Not everyone shreds every bit of paper that holds personal information. Many people give out pertinent information over the telephone or Internet without considering the risk of identity theft. And plenty of people assume that every Internet retailer is safe and honest.

All retailers - online and brick-and-mortar - must be proactive in the fight against identity theft and the use of identity resolution is a powerful tool. In the end, this will protect both the retailer and its customers. The best practice is for retailers to employ as many prevention and detection tools as feasible to protect both the business and its customers. Whether or not a retailer has fallen victim to fraud from identity theft, the time to implement identity resolution solutions is now. Growth trends and forecasts for identity theft and account takeover are astronomical. Criminals won’t just go away and stop committing fraud; rather, they become cleverer and more innovative right along with the solutions to defeat them.

As technology and payments solution users and providers, most retailers cover as many bases as possible, but criminals just keep applying new tactics against this problem. Thus, in our fight against this problem, we must continually refine our current solutions and deploy new tools as they become available to help fight the battle.

To bring closure to my story, my son was lucky enough to have a good person return his passport, and it now sits in lockup in a safe deposit box. I’m betting that on his next international trip his passport will be better secured.

Identity Resolution Daily Links 2008-5-12

Monday, May 12th, 2008

Retail Solutions Online: Return Fraud & Abuse Costs Retailers More Than $15.5B

“The survey found that nearly 70 percent of the respondents specified that it is an important issue to their company, and the majority of retailers – 64 percent – report that focusing on reducing refund fraud is a high priority. However, there is clearly a performance gap because two-thirds of retailers believe that their current return policies and systems are ‘ineffective’ or only ’somewhat’ effective in deterring return fraud and abuse. That indicates that there is still much room for improvement on the issue.”

Hub Solution Designs Blog: Next Week’s DIG Conference

“While I think it’s true that MDM is in fact needed at most large organizations, having to coordinate with an already-underway SOA initiative, or step back from a planned BI initiative and first tackle MDM, does complicate things a bit. So that’s the ‘problem’ part. The ‘opportunity’ part is that, for organizations that have the foresight or the luck to tackle MDM first, it makes implementing SOA or achieving business intelligence success that much easier.”

NBC 29: Insurance Fraud Costing Virginians Thousands of Dollars

“Insurance fraud is the second most common and costly white collar crime in the country. It costs the economy nearly $85 billion a year.”

Identity Resolution Daily Links 2008-5-9

Friday, May 9th, 2008

[Post from Infoglide] More Than “Nice”: Identity Resolution is Core to MDM

“Writing about Informatica’s acquisition of Identity Systems, industry expert Jill Dyche offers a great perspective on MDM. This author of a number of very useful books on MDM, CRM, and data warehousing shared in a recent post that she sees the acquisition by Informatica as a good one for the company and the industry.”

DataFlux Community of Experts: Privacy and Data Governance

“At the recent data governance executive briefings that I participated in with Scott Gidley from DataFlux, one of the examples that came up in conversation regarding data governance was that of data privacy.”

WFAA.com: Organized retail theft rings work stores

“Retailers say organized packs of shoplifters are sweeping shelves clean, then reselling stolen goods on eBay or at flea markets. ‘We have not seen regular shoplifting rise over the last several weeks or months because of inflation,’ said Kroger spokesman Garry Huddleston. ‘What we have seen increase is organized retail crime.’”

Today’s THV: MLK Commissioners Defend Director Linked To Fraud Ring

“The state’s insurance commissioner said last week that the state could pursue charges against DuShun Scarbrough, who began working for the commission in March. Scarbrough has not been charged with a crime, but court papers filed by the state say he received more than $19,000 in false insurance claims for accidents tied to the ring.”

More Than “Nice”: Identity Resolution is Core to MDM

Wednesday, May 7th, 2008

By Robert Barker, Infoglide Senior Vice President & Chief Marketing Officer

Writing about Informatica’s acquisition of Identity Systems, industry expert Jill Dyche offers a great perspective on MDM. This author of a number of very useful books on MDM, CRM, and data warehousing shared in a recent post that she sees the acquisition by Informatica as a good one for the company and the industry.

We recently talked about Identity Resolution’s relationship to BI and MDM. Jill mentions that Identity Resolution addresses or enhances five of eight core MDM functions identified in a CDI book she recently co-authored:

  • A single point of data retrieval
  • Consistent value representation
  • An accurate and repeatable means of matching and merging data
  • A repository of clean, reliable data
  • Support of multiple data sources

When you first encounter the concept of Identity Resolution (also known as Entity Resolution and Analysis), it’s tempting to reduce it to matching similar names for de-duping. While Jill’s list includes that function and more, I’d add some that aren’t on her list. While similarity (or fuzzy) matching is the basic level of functionality needed to resolve identities, integrating three additional functions significantly enhances Identity Resolution’s value in managing corporate performance.

First, detecting hidden relationships to find out “who’s who and who knows whom” can really boost the value of the results. Now to really exploit the full power of Identity Resolution, add two more ingredients: first, a decisioning function that determines what the resolved identities and hidden relationships mean, and then a business processing function that links those decisions into existing business processes.

It’s heartening to see that Informatica’s acquisition of Identity Systems is increasing awareness and discussion of Identity Resolution. There’s a growing realization that it’s not just a “nice” feature but has become a mandatory feature of any good MDM solution.


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