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Use CDS165 to Easily Standardize Company Names

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.

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