My bad

Philip Howard

Written By:
Published: 2nd March, 2011
Content Copyright © 2011 Bloor. All Rights Reserved.

In my article on identity resolution in January I stated that “I only know one vendor that specialises in this second type of identity resolution and that is IBM.” What I was referring to was the sort of identity resolution that understands criminals who have multiple aliases and, further, can figure out that this suspect lived in the same house as xyz two years ago, who is now engaged to be married to abc, who is the sister of known terrorist lmn, and so on and so forth.

Well, my mistake. It turns out that I was wrong: Infoglide (www.infoglide.com) also provides this sort of software. Truth to tell, I had always put Infoglide into the same camp as Identity Systems (part of Informatica) for conventional identity resolution, which is more closely related to data quality. Indeed, Infoglide does sometimes compete in this market (they do overlap). However, its customer base is primarily in federal and state government and financial services, which tells its own story, although it does have a presence in the retail and healthcare markets also.

Also worth noting is that, while the company has historically been focused primarily on North America, it is now forming partnerships elsewhere. For example, the Westminster Group is a UK-based partner. Infloglide has several existing UK-based customers.

There are a couple of interesting things to be aware of in Infloglide’s solution. The first is that it uses a federated approach. In other words, all data stays in the source system. More particularly, this approach lends itself to addressing external data sources as well as those that are internal to an organisation. For example, you can query Facebook or LexisNexis at the same time as internal databases.

Like IBM, Infoglide supports anonymous resolution. This is used when you want to make enquiries about an individual but data privacy laws get in the way of providing such information, for example between a bank in Switzerland and one in the United States. IBM’s approach is that the data is shipped but anonymised (masked, if you will) whereas Infoglide’s is that the data is not actually shipped at all. Nevertheless, both answer the question.

These approaches are both fine if used within a single banking corporation. You need the software installed at both ends of the connection but that’s fine in a single organisation. However, it isn’t fine if two different banks want to communicate with one another. With both IBM and Infoglide having implementations in this market this will likely mean that banks will have to have both sets of software in order to handle information requests from different sources. No doubt both of these vendors would love this, but it’s not good for the banks, or anyone else wanting to use this software.

The market for anonymous resolution has not yet reached critical mass but it will. At that point we are going to have a problem. IBM and Infoglide need to sit down together sooner rather than later to discuss coming to some sort of agreement about standards for interfacing between the two product sets.

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