It's well known that having high quality corporate data assets at the core of enterprise systems isn't entirely about technology. However, there is little doubt that using software and Internet technology can go a long way towards improving the value and usefulness of corpate data assets.
One computing trend to emerge lately of course is cloud computing with its many forms. One of the key tenants of the cloud is the abstracting away of software and hardware complexities (and their associated cost) so an organization can focus on solutions and innovation rather than infrastructure and integration.
A great example of where this can be applied is in the area of improving data assets. IT systems are only as good as the data within them. Phone numbers, physical addresses, email addresses, and other contact record data elements can all be inaccurate, incomplete, or out-of-date. This can cause serious problems with IT systems and the analysis done within those systems, can result in missed opportunities, and can also cause poor customer service and customer communication problems.
One way to combat these issues is by using external reference data (such as that supplied by the post office or telephone book data aggregators) to check and verify the accuracy of internal customer information and other contact data, ensuring the contact data is not only recognized and matched to the external reference data, but also complete and current.
Traditionally, this reference data always had to be purchased, installed on internal software and hardware, integrated (typically without using standards), and periodically updated and maintained using human capital. All of this comes at a tremendous cost, but one that was previously unavoidable to achieve high quality data internally.
However, when leveraging a cloud-based architecture, the above costly steps go away. With more modern, emerging cloud-based solutions, all verification occurs via the Internet “as-a-service”, eliminating costly and time-consuming software and reference data maintenance and update processes.
An example of this is StrikeIron's cloud-based Contact Record Verification Suite
that verifies, corrects, and enhances customer contact data over the Web in real-time to ensure that contact information such as physical addresses, phone numbers, and email addresses are accurate, complete, and current. The components of the solution are all integrated into applications and data-collecting Web sites with standards-based SOAP and REST APIs, interfaces to the solution living in the cloud. This requires no internal software or hardware, and eliminates the costly and time-consuming data maintenance and updating steps, as all referenced data used during the verification process is updated within StrikeIron's data centers. This means customers no longer have to worry about managing these reference sources (it has been abstracted away).
Now, an organization can have much better corporate data assets at the core of their systems with greater simplicity and cost-effectiveness than ever before, all by leveraging the benefits that the concept of the cloud has been built upon.
The CTIA Fall event wrapped up in San Francisco this past week and the message was loud and clear. The enterprise is going to be the next hot place for mobile and wireless over the next twelve months and beyond.
In fact, the CTIA even changed the name of the annual event to "Enterprise and Applications" this year, reflecting this enterprise focus and where the organization thinks the largest opportunities will be in 2011.
To provide a foundation for this thinking, here are some of the trends that will drive continued innovation and adoption in enterprise mobile computing going forward:
- Mobile operating system innovation is continuing at a fast pace thanks to competition, including Android, Blackberry, Apple's iOS, and Windows Phone 7, and much of these new features have significant enterprise relevance.
- Smartphone innovation is moving beyond consumers and into the enterprise now, as evidenced by new device launches such as Motorola's Android Pro, which takes on the Blackberry, currently the enterprise stalwart device.
- There are currently 61 million wireless devices on US networks, a number growing every day.
- Another $21 billion has been invested in wireless infrastructure by the industry the last twelve months.
- The success of the iPad is launching a new revolution in tablet computing, perhaps even more ideal for the enterprise than smartphones.
- The emergence of cloud computing, a major trend in the enterprise and ideally suite for mobile applications, will drive much enterprise mobile innovation.
- We are inching closer and closer to a 4G world as evidenced by LTE rollouts, where data throughput will be increased considerably, and latency significantly reduced.
- Human barriers to enterprise adoption such as IT and Executive Management are decreasing as these individuals are using wireless devices more and more in their own lives and are seeing the value and potential within the enterprise.
We have witnessed this uptick already in 2010 at StrikeIron, seeing our SMS Alerts and Notifications text messaging solution increase significantly in adoption in 2010. Text messaging is especially important when communicating with customers, employees, and others whose device types are not known, or where freedom of device type usage is encouraged. These types of SMS-based alerts and notifications can dramatically improve customer service, strengthen relationships with customers, and drive new business opportunities. And thanks to Web Services API solutions like ours, it is easy to integrate SMS capabilities into applications, Web sites, business processes, or anywhere else where a real-time notification could be beneficial.
2011 should be a very interesting year to watch for mobile computing in the enterprise.
Informatica's Cloud Data Integration Solutions enable the management of data from the cloud or within the cloud for a broad range of applications and use cases.
For example, data can be moved using Informatica's Cloud Data Integration solution from legacy systems during an initial implementation of Salesforce.com's sales force automation product so an organization can leverage existing data when they launch Salesforce.com internally. Also, it can be used to import lead data from a broad range of file formats into Salesforce.com for existing implementations, greatly simplifying this process.
Also, data can be synchronized from other applications such as between Oracle's eBusiness Suite, Microsoft Dynamics, SAP, SAS, JD Edwards, Siebel, Peoplesoft, Pivotal and other enterprise applications, cloud-based applications and enterprise data sources, as well as many different databases and data formats. It can even be integrated into Amazon's EC2 cloud platform. This is achieved via "adapters" that Informatica has developed over time, many of which come from their PowerCenter solution. These adapters enable the moving of data assets between and/or into these different applications that are present within an organization.
Use cases include data/back office synchronization, data importing and exporting, customer master synchronization (MDM), CRM integration, data replication, data archiving, and legacy application retirement to name a few.
Now, as all this data is being moved around between applications and sources, this is an ideal time to ensure validity of the data, as well as ensuring it is accurate, standardized, complete, and current. This is where StrikeIron comes in with its Contact Record Verification Suite, validating, correcting, and enhancing addresses, phone numbers, email addresses, and other geographic information. This ensures that the best possible data is running at the core of all of an organization's business processes.
StrikeIron's Contact Record Verification Suite is essentially a set of cloud-based plug-ins that Informatica has integrated into its platform as another "adapter" or "plug-in" that can sit in the middle of data moving between applications to or in the cloud, including multiple data formats and databases.
In this particular video, the phone number validation component is being used as part of the Informatica Cloud Data Integration Solution to validate phone numbers and add other geographic information such as zip code and time zone as lead data is being moved into Salesforce.com from an Excel spreadsheet:
If you'd like to see how this can be achieved within your organization, send us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org or give us a call at 919-467-4545.
CRM systems are only as good as the data within them. That's especially true with Salesforce.com and their CRM solution products, including their premier sales force automation product Sales Cloud 2 and their call center solution Service Cloud 2.
For example, imagine how much more effective a salesteam member can be if he or she has complete, accurate, and up-to-date information on contacts they are about to reach out to. Optimizing the time and effort of the sales team can provide significant dividends to the bottom line.
Also, there is nothing more frustrating for example than typing a well-though-out email only to have it returned as undeliverable fifteen minutes later. Bad addresses and bad phone numbers can be just as agonizing.
When marketing to the gold mine of contacts that exist in your CRM system, the quality of data can be the difference in a successful campaign or a failed one. No matter how good the message or offer is, if it's not reaching the targets, it's not going to do well.
Because of this, a couple of years ago we integrated several of our data-as-a-service Web APIs into Salesforce.com, optimizing our capabilities within Salesforce.com. We are gradually improving them over time as customers put them to use in a broad range of industries.
The four services that are currently integrated, customized for the Force.com platform, and available on the Salesforce.com AppExchange include:
US Address Verification - ensuring accurate, validated addresses within your Salesforce system (including adding additional data like county and latitude and longitude)
Global Address Verification - includes address verification for hundreds of countries around the world
Email Address Verification - ensuring email addresses within Salesforce are valid and deliverable (without having to send an actual email)
Do Not Call List Compliance - checks phone numbers against the federal Do Not List to ensure compliance and avoid FTC fines