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Archive for December, 2008

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Wednesday, December 24th, 2008

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

A recent post on the Netrics blog illustrates a key principle underlying the power and value of identity (“entity”) resolution software – solutions without it allow costly and even deadly decisions to be made. At Infoglide, we’re keenly aware of the sometimes life-or-death decisions that our solutions inform. The highest profile example is the core role our identity resolution technology plays in Secure Flight, the next generation airline passenger screening system that DHS/TSA will roll out in 2009.

In reflecting about 2008 in this last post of the year, it’s been great to see identity resolution (aka entity analytics or entity resolution) grow into a unique, identifiable market. We started developing identity resolution technology in 1996. IBM joined us several years ago after creating its Entity Analytic Solutions unit by acquisition. Seeing existing data matching vendors like Netrics beginning to position their products as identity resolution tools further validates the value of the space, and we welcome them all.

The following requirements represent the minimum capabilities needed to adequately address identity resolution problems that most often focus on identifying bad actors:
•    Identity matching through an extensive library of attribute-specific analytics
•    Relationship detection
•    Relationship resolution
•    Decisioning that leverages industry-standard and other rules-based systems
•    Seamless integration with existing business processes via web services and APIs.

We’ve seen many failed attempts at solving identity resolution problems using non-optimal technologies, including creating custom in-house applications or trying to adapt products from adjacent and overlapping markets like data quality (DQ), master data management (MDM), customer relationship management (CRM), and business intelligence (BI). Each type is effective in solving problems in its space but each falls short when attacking identity resolution since none were designed to meet its unique requirements.

Agree? Disagree? We’d love to hear from you.

Happy Holidays from everyone at Identity Resolution Daily and Infoglide Software! We’ll resume posting on January 5.

Identity Resolution Daily Links 2008-12-22

Monday, December 22nd, 2008

By the Infoglide Team

Reuters: Insider trading case sends chill through PR firms

“Most firms Reuters spoke with said they are taking a second look at their policies for handling information considering tighter restrictions on taking documents home and access to computer systems. Most had already sent out policy reminders to their staffers and are consulting their lawyers.”

TCPalm: St. Lucie West worker guilty of workers’ comp fraud

“Concetta Marie Prianti also was ordered to repay more than $37,000 following a referral to the Division of Insurance Fraud by the Florida League of Cities’ Special Investigation Unit.”

Cheapflights.com: TSA Sets Out to Bust Watch List “Myths”

“So how many lists are really out there, and how many people are on each list? TSA says the prevailing myth is that more than one million people are on these ‘lists.’ Not so, insists the government.”

Sacramento Bee: Local investigative firm sees rise in workers’ comp fraud cases

“In California, potential losses to workers’ compensation fraud ran about $223 million in the 2006-2007 fiscal year, according to the state Department of Insurance. ‘The economic situation is kind of bleak,’ said Sudha Rajender, a San Joaquin County deputy district attorney who noted a 25 percent increase in his office’s caseload. ‘Many people are out of work, so they get creative with raising funds.’”

North Country Gazette: Tree Cutter Caught On Tape In Fraud

“Investigators said surveillance showed Stiegler receiving payment of $550 on at least one occasion for cutting trees at a private residence. As a result of his arrest, the potential future savings on Stiegler’s claim was estimated to be $202,813.”

Identity Resolution Daily Links 2008-12-19

Friday, December 19th, 2008

[Post from Infoglide] #3: If Only Data Quality Were That Simple

“Discovering hidden relationships is a crucial part of a market known by various aliases: entity resolution and analysis, entity analytics, and our favorite of course, identity resolution. Regardless of the name you use, identity resolution problems have distinct characteristics not adequately addressed by existing solutions for data quality (DQ). Neither are they addressed by customer relationship management (CRM), master data management (MDM), or business intelligence (BI).”

Associated Press: SEC: Lehman broker used wife, a Brunswick Group partner, in $4.8M insider trading scheme

“Federal prosecutors in Manhattan and the Securities and Exchange Commission brought the case Thursday against Matthew C. Devlin, who authorities said enabled clients and friends to make millions of dollars while he was rewarded with gifts including cash, a Cartier watch, a widescreen television and tuition at a Porsche driving school. ‘By providing inside information, Devlin curried favor with his friends and business associates and received in return cash, luxury items and other benefits,’ the SEC said in court papers.”

Toronto Star: Lotto winner paid four years later

“According to an OPP press release ‘the manager of a Burlington convenience store allegedly stole a lottery ticket with a winning prize of $80,341.’”

North Country Gazette: Rochester Man Pinched As Comp Cheat

“The state Insurance Department said Tripoli began collecting benefits after suffering a job-related arm and shoulder injury in January 2007. He claimed he could not work because of the injury, but was later discovered working as a painting sub-contractor throughout 2007 and 2008.”

The Desert Sun: Store clerks around county suspected of cheating lottery customers

“During the sting, decoys posing as lottery customers with winning tickets went into different stores and asked the clerks to confirm whether the tickets they had bought were, indeed, winners, according to California Lottery spokesman Alex Traverso.”

#3: If Only Data Quality Were That Simple

Wednesday, December 17th, 2008

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

Our previous post was a response to Phillip Howard at Bloor who recently raised questions about data quality solutions in a series of posts.  One final point he made raises an issue that deserves an extended comment.

On this point Philip says “where I think there may be a significant difference between products is in their ability to discover relationships. However, I will not comment on this now as I am conducting research into this issue and plan to publish a detailed report in the New Year.”  This brief comment highlights what I believe is a rapidly emerging market.

Discovering hidden relationships is a crucial part of a market known by various aliases: entity resolution and analysis, entity analytics, and our favorite of course, identity resolution. Regardless of the name you use, identity resolution problems have distinct characteristics not adequately addressed by existing solutions for data quality (DQ). Neither are they addressed by customer relationship management (CRM), master data management (MDM), or business intelligence (BI).

Identity resolution solutions focus on horizontal need: identifying bad actors in multiple industries. They require at a minimum the following capabilities:
1.    Identity matching through an extensive library of attribute-specific analytics
2.    Relationship detection and resolution resolution
3.    Decisioning that leverages industry-standard and other rules-based systems
4.    Seamless integration with existing business processes via web services and APIs.

Until recently, identity resolution problems were overlooked, addressed by custom in-house applications, or served by cobbling together products from adjacent and overlapping markets. As the identity resolution market has emerged, vendors from these adjacent markets have tried to address the needs with existing products, but customers quickly learn that these products lack the combination of integrated capabilities needed to adequately this unique problem area.

Identity resolution has a similar relationship to each of the 4 adjacent areas mentioned above. Each area causes the creation of data sources that can be consumed by identity resolution solutions, while the addition of identity resolution technology enhances the accuracy of DQ, BI, CRM, and MDM.

Here’s a chart that seeks to clarify these relationships and to characterize the strengths and weaknesses of the adjacent products when applied to identity resolution problems. The adjacent products simply can’t address identity resolution well because they were built for a different purpose. Do you agree?

Identity Resolution Daily Links 2008-15-08

Monday, December 15th, 2008

By the Infoglide Team

Illinois Business Journal: Closing fraud loopholes would decrease Illinois’ workers’ comp costs

“Workers’ compensation costs for Illinois employers are higher than any of its bordering states, according to Jay Shattuck, executive director of the Illinois Chamber Employment Law Council. Illinois’ average total cost per claim, he says, is $21,335 - compared to Indiana’s $10,517, Wisconsin’s $11,342, Iowa’s $14,292 and Missouri’s $17,309.”

Hub Solution Designs: MDM: Buzz-Worthy But Not A Back-Breaker

“The software vendors who’ve flocked to MDM and put the MDM label on everything under the sun have certainly confused the market. Even so, the MDM software market grew 24% from 2007 to 2008.  In spite of the tough economic times we’re currently in, that rapid growth rate should continue for the next several years.”

Hi-Tech-Blog: Economy down = Employee theft up

Brian J. Mich, head of anticorruption compliance and investigations at BDO Consulting, says during tough financial times, ‘people have a tendency to give in to temptation to commit criminal behavior,’ and that employers tend to become more vigilant. Mich also observes that people viewed as the most trustworthy–those who have ‘access to systems and information’–often commit the biggest thefts.”

Crain’s New York Business: Shoplifting increases at retail stores

“According to the nationwide study, 84% of retailers, including department stores, specialty apparel companies, electronic stores and drugstores, have seen an increase in theft and amateur shoplifting over the last three months. More than 75% of stores report a rise in financial fraud, and 80% cite intensified organized retail crime.”

Identity Resolution Daily Links 2008-12-12

Friday, December 12th, 2008

[Post from Infoglide] Part Deux: If Only Data Quality Were That Simple

“Applying generic algorithms to data attributes with wildly varying characteristics simply can’t match the accuracy of applying a family of deterministic analytics, each built around specific characteristics of a particular attribute type.”

Data Value Talk: The added value of an integrated customer view

“So it appears that the data itself plays a crucial role in the lack of an integrated customer view. Or more accurately, the better the data - the better the customer view.  And the better the matching of customer records across separate systems the better the integrated customer view. So Data Quality and Matching (Identity Resolution) determine in large parts the quality of the integrated customer view and the added value that it delivers.”

Marion Star: Muzzle loading and compensation

“Investigators from the Ohio Bureau of Workers’ Compensation, posing as gun enthusiasts, twice visited SMS. Those visits consisted primarily of small talk about guns and ammo. McGraw discussed some pistols that he had recently sold and invited one of the investigators to bring in an allegedly defective gun, telling them he would ‘take a look at it.’”

Intelligent Enterprise: ‘Surround Strategy:’ A Prediction for 2009

” Rather than trying to remodel the data warehouse to accommodate fresher and more detailed operational data (near real-time activity in operational systems, process logs, etc.), these data sources will operate in parallel (or horizontally, whichever word you like) as complementary feeds to analytics. It takes too long and is too expensive to expand the data warehouse concept to do this.”

New York State Insurance Department: Cortland Woman Accused of Workers’ Comp Fraud

“Horton is charged with making false statements and submitting false testimony to the Workers’ Compensation Board to receive benefits. She claimed that an April 2006 back injury she suffered while she was a health aide prevented her from working or attending school. Investigators learned that she was attending school full-time.”

Gartner: When is SOA, DOA? When it’s without MDM!

[Andrew White] “Clearly, if every SOA-based application interaction had to incur the costs of data reconciliation, mapping, clean up etc, then the cost of building and maintaining that SOA-based application would exceed what it costs today without SOA.  The bottom line: SOA needs MDM to help with the evolution of the information infrastructure.”

The State Journal: Insurance Fraud Unit Wins 45 Convictions This Year

“Since January 2007, the fraud unit has received 1,703 case referrals for review from those in the insurance industry and private citizens. After reviewing the referrals, field investigators have been assigned 397 cases to pursue. During that time, [West Va. Insurance Commissioner Jane] Cline said, 292 criminal cases have been referred to various prosecuting authorities, as well as in-house prosecutors who have been assigned to the unit on a full-time basis. Further, the fraud unit has secured indictments on 84 individuals for 294 felony counts and successfully obtained 73 convictions, including 45 in 2008.”

Part Deux: If Only Data Quality Were That Simple

Wednesday, December 10th, 2008

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

During the past two weeks, Phillip Howard at Bloor Research has raised interesting questions about the nature and efficiency of data quality solutions in a series of posts entitled “The problem with data quality solutions.” Last week I responded on his blog and posted an expanded discussion of the same points here.

His fourth installment opens some interesting new topics. Perhaps the best approach is to lift some quotes and then respond below.

“Where I will comment is on the importance of understanding relationships not just between data elements but also between data and applications and even between data and the business. Understanding data relationships is arguably the most important factor whenever you are moving and transforming data, especially in data migration and data archiving environments but also for moving data into a warehouse and similar applications.” We agree that finding non-obvious connections is crucial to building effective data quality solutions. Many technologies fall short in this regard. They are unable to evaluate relationships based on similarity when data is inconsistent. Philip’s simple example baffles many technologies:

“A typical case might be where one application required a five digit numeric field and another application requires the same five numbers plus an additional two alphabetic characters. So, here’s a question for data quality vendors: can your software tell the difference?”  Applying generic algorithms to data attributes with wildly varying characteristics simply can’t match the accuracy of applying a family of deterministic analytics, each built around specific characteristics of a particular attribute type.

He goes on: “Unfortunately, discovering relationships is not just about profiling your database. There may be relationships that exist across data sources (and types of data source) that you need to understand; and then there is the application factor. While it may not be theoretically correct from a purist data management perspective the fact is that many data relationships are defined within applications so, in one way or another, you really need to discover these.”  We couldn’t have articulated it any better. Many data quality solutions assume a higher degree of order than actually exists in the real world. Being able to deal with ambiguity (e.g., data sometimes missing, data entered in wrong fields) distinguishes the best technologies from their more simplistic brethren.

This post is getting a little long, so we’ll continue this discussion next week. In the meantime, we’d like to hear your reaction.

Identity Resolution Daily Links 2008-12-08

Monday, December 8th, 2008

By the Infoglide Team

Supply & Demand Chain Executive: Avoiding the Big Bang Backlash of MDM Implementations

“A strong MDM strategy touches so many parts of the enterprise that it may take years to define, evangelize and implement, but that doesn’t mean that MDM needs to sit quietly on the sidelines until that time. Rather, an evolutionary approach to moving forward with MDM could in fact unlock the door to broader acceptance of an enterprise-wide MDM strategy.”

Government Computer News: Better privacy for better security

“Although the two complement each other, it is not easy to provide both security and privacy because using data for security can expose it. This means that the two concerns have to be balanced. To pursue one end at the expense of the other is self-defeating, the experts said.”

Poughkeepsie Journal: Saugerties man charged with fraud

“A Saugerties man faces insurance fraud and other charges after he allegedly accepted more than $77,800 in workers’ compensation benefits despite appearing well. Joseph A. Gambino, 58, Simmons Street, was arrested Wednesday after investigators produced videotapes showing him moving furniture and riding a motorcycle. During medical exams, he had been leaning heavily on a cane, according to the Ulster County District Attorney’s Office.”

FRAUDWAR: How to Legally Buy Hot Merchandise

“The Internet has opened new avenues for criminals to fence stolen merchandise. This has made it easier to sell stolen merchandise and there are many who believe that it contributes to the problem. The most recent survey by the National Retail Federation estimates that Organized Retail Crime is a $30 billion a year issue. Their most most recent Organized Crime Survey showed that e-fencing on traditional auction sites has grown by six percent. In response to this, they are even pushing bills in Congress to force the auction sites to allow more access to law enforcement and retailers, who are attempting to shut down this activity.”

Identity Resolution Daily Links 2008-12-05

Friday, December 5th, 2008

By the Infoglide Team

[Post from Infoglide] Identity Resolution Daily: If Only Data Quality Were That Simple

“The most effective approach blends several best-of-class techniques, and it scales without compromising performance. A multifaceted solution combines an extensive rules base for nicknames and abbreviations, heuristics, semantics, and a large array of public and proprietary algorithms and other types of analytics.”

MarketWatch: Fraudulent Doctor Surrenders License, Repays $144K to Texas Mutual

“Between January 2003 and March 2006, Shanti and his clinic over-billed workers’ compensation carriers for pain management services in excess of hours actually attended by patients, according to the indictments.”

IT-Director: The problem with data quality solutions part 4

“A typical case might be where one application required a five digit numeric field and another application requires the same five numbers plus an additional two alphabetic characters. So, here’s a question for data quality vendors: can your software tell the difference?”

SecurityInfoWatch: Police, private security given access to ORCIN database

“‘Right now information sharing between loss prevention security and police officers is very limited to who you know,’ said ORCIN Founder Rudy Bravo ‘This way, if you go onto the Web site and post information (about a retail crime) and send it, it will be sent out to all our members.’”

KARE11.com: Retailers report rise in ‘organized’ shoplifting

“What isn’t clear is whether the apparent rise in organized shoplifting is due mostly to the Internet, where auction sites offer sellers an easy way to make money on never-before-used products, or if the shoplifting is rising as the economy gets worse.”

TravelAgentCentral: ASTA Alerts Agents to 2009 Secure Flight Changes

“ASTA said it is essential that travel agents take steps now to prepare for this new set of procedures and offered specific guidelines agents can use to comply with the new data collection rules.”

If Only Data Quality Were That Simple

Wednesday, December 3rd, 2008

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

In a set of three recent posts, industry analyst Philip Howard of Bloor Research compares different types of data quality technologies. Setting aside the fact that the focus was on two specific companies, let’s examine the key conclusions.

First, “next generation” data quality solutions must employ “improved matching with less human involvement.” While no one will argue that “better results, less cost” should be (and is!) a goal of all matching technologies, implying that mathematical modeling and semantic analytics alone can solve every problem ignores the breadth of requirements and attribute types across multiple industries. For example, a solution that’s great at matching product data may fail miserably at identifying insider trading on Wall Street.

Another key point made in the posts: most products require the user to “tinker around with your guesses and see if your match percentage improves” and that “means a lot of manual work, not just to begin with but on an on-going basis.” In reality, users often list configurability as a top criterion in choosing a solution for complex problems, and our experience is that in most instances the amount of ongoing adjustment after the initial learning phase is minimal. “One size fits all” works OK with t-shirts but not so well with data.

A final conclusion is that “all the leading products have been built using out-of-date technology that has now been superseded.” In point of fact, both companies cited have been around for years, and all leading companies (including mine) continually evolve their techology. Perhaps more importantly, a key requirement for all but the simplest problems is a solution that can incorporate newer, better analytics as they emerge, rather than locking the customer into a single “my way or the highway” approach that works well for some classes of data attributes but not so well on others.

The most effective approach blends several best-of-class techniques, and it scales without compromising performance. A multifaceted solution combines an extensive rules base for nicknames and abbreviations, heuristics, semantics, and a large array of public and proprietary algorithms and other types of analytics. As important as matching is, a strong solution will enable easy integration with existing systems and can evolve as requirements grow and new analytics emerge.

Stimulating conversation about the range of solutions available to address data quality problems is a highly desirable activity. However, considering only one or two vendors (including Infoglide!) for any solution can limit your thinking about how best to address your unique requirements.


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