Do you have customers in your database at the same company but with all sorts of different spellings and abbreviations of their company name. For example, you may have customers at General Electric and some are represented as General Electric Inc., while others have GE, The General Electric Company, or Gen Electric. Misspelling a company name or storing it in different formats impacts search results and mailing efficiency and significantly hinders data analysis. How can you know how much you're selling to General Electric when it's represented ten different ways in the database across fifty customers?
Advantage has the answer: the CDS165 - Company Name Standardization process. This process standardizes the company names to the most frequent occurrence in your database. For example, if you have 12 entries for GE, 15 for General Electric, and 7 for General Electric Inc., all entries would be consolidated to General Electric.
How does this process operate? It works by generating a comparison name, which reduces the entries to a single, abbreviated form of the company name. The reduced form is constructed by removing punctuations, converting to upper case, correcting common misspellings, standardizing abbreviations, and removing starting and trailing words, such as The, Inc., and Co. This reduced form is then compared to the other instances having the same abbreviated name. The CDS165 picks the most common name as the resulting company name for all entries.
If you want to add customized behavior to fit your industry or country, you can add additional starting or trailing words or phrases that should be considered at CDSVLU, using the OLD-WORD and END-WORD keywords. For example, if you want GE to be considered as General Electric, but the process doesn’t recognize them as the same company, you can add a rule for the string GE.
The CDS165 process also includes a Detail Mode process option that shows each standardized customer and their variant on the surviving name. This process can be run in report-only mode to see what would happen without updating the database.
By carefully choosing rules for generating comparisons, you can increase the number of selected variants and avoid consolidating unintended company names. And, if you want to further ensure that a particular record is not selected for standardization, you can check the Company Standardization Exempt flag on the customer record.
Another great feature of the CDS165 process is that it can automatically add an alias at CDSCTM/AKA after its run. This option can even be set based on a minimum number of occurrences of a particular variant. For example, you may decide to only add AKA entries when there 2 or more variant occurrences.
Once a variant is added at CDSCTM/AKA, any future customers that are added using this company name variant will be automatically replaced with the standard form. This applies to customers added from data entry, web, or uploads. In our previous example, future company names entered as Gen Electric would automatically be standardized to General Electric.
Isn't this a lot easier than trying to define all the variants manually?
Interested in learning more about the CDS165 - Company Name Standardization process? The online help is a great place to start. You can also talk to your ACS account manager or support staff for further assistance using this feature.
In 2007, when I returned to ACS after pursuing graduate studies, the iPhone was a relatively new phenomenon and the iPad was little more than an idea on a drawing board. Amazon also had yet to release the Kindle. Now, all these products are central tools exploited by many publishers. In less than four years, the worlds of publishing and marketing have undergone significant changes. Publishers have increasingly been looking at how best to digitize their content, and then monetize that digital content. They have re-oriented their marketing to reach consumers via new electronic means. At the same time, in this world of digitization, some publishers have been successful at increasing print circulation, often through the use of innovative marketing to a core demographic through both print and digital avenues.
Advantage is also changing to keep pace and evolve to meet these new demands. Advantage is a powerful tool that allows publishers to deliver content to consumers, analyze the sales of that content, connect with new prospects, and consequently market their products intelligently. In order to take advantage of the thousands of development hours put into Advantage each year, however, it's essential to have a plan for regularly upgrading your Advantage software package.
ACS typically recommends that an upgrade be considered every year or two. By upgrading on a regular basis, you can be assured that you will be receiving new features which will allow you to better market and deliver your content, as well as cutting overhead costs by doing these more efficiently. Having a regular upgrade plan also makes each upgrade smoother and more cost effective. Shorter intervals between upgrades ensure that your staff remains familiar with upgrade methodology and responsibilities, as well as providing a more manageable number of new features to implement. As any circulation manager, marketing director, or head of IT can tell you, there are many projects and tasks competing for their time. Having a regularly scheduled upgrade ensures that everyone can plan accordingly and set aside time for the upgrade to occur at regular intervals. This also ensures that upgrade responsibilities are manageable in addition to other obligations.
We complete 15-20 upgrade projects each year, and so have been able to develop a proven upgrade methodology to ensure efficient, well-managed upgrades. If you haven't already, why not talk to your ACS account manager today about setting up a regular schedule of upgrades?