To Boldly Go Beyond Customer Name and Address

Andy Hayler

Written By:
Published: 29th February, 2008
Content Copyright © 2008 Bloor. All Rights Reserved.

Trillium Software's first customer was Barclays Bank in 1992, and it has steadily built up to the point where it is a market leader in data quality. Its enterprise customer base of 2,000 dwarfs its competition (with prestige names such as Porsche, Kodak and Pfizer) and, unlike some data quality vendors, it is quite international. It has 150 customers in Japan, for example (some vendors do not even have double byte character support), and has significant internationalisation capabilities. For no less than 35 countries Trillium Software has street-level address correction, validation and formatting and matching rules, with city level address correction in 14 more. The company's software spans the full range of data quality functionality, from investigation (profiling), de-duplication, merge and geocoding, as well as data quality monitoring. It was designed from early on to operate in real-time rather than batch, and its functions can be called up as web services within other applications.

It made its reputation in the handling of customer name and address data and this is still where the bulk of its customers use it, but there are customer examples of it being used elsewhere, even for complex datatypes such as product (e.g. at US Steel). The company could do more to make this clearer, as with newly fashionable data governance initiatives enterprise customers are increasingly taking an enterprise-wide approach, and Trillium Software wants to avoid being labelled a customer name and address provider only.

Master data management (MDM) is an industry generating considerable interest, and is one in which few of the major platform vendors have their own data quality functionality (or if they do, it is a rarely their strongest suit). Trillium Software has established partnerships with Oracle, SAP, Teradata and Siperian, and there is even a connector to IBM's MDM server technology (though IBM does have a data quality offering). It is consequently well positioned to take advantage of the expected rapid growth in the MDM market.

Trillium Software is a division of Harte Hanks, a broad-based marketing company. Some software companies live within parents in very different businesses to their own, which can cause problems since the issues that the parent company faces may be very different to those of a software company. However, marketing is all about knowing the customer, so although there are inevitably differences in business model, its parent is a better fit than many other situations. Harte Hanks provides support services, deep pockets and related services (some Harte Hanks services embed Trillium Software).

Trillium continues to grow at a rate above the industry average. Trillium Software's price point makes it hardly the cheapest data quality product, but this is not surprising given its market position. It has a lot of strengths in a tough competitive market. Broader based vendors have incorporated data quality into their technology stack (e.g. Informatica, SAS, Business Objects) and there are still a host of other stand-alone data quality vendors from quite large (e.g. Group 1) to specialist (e.g. Silver Creek Systems) to fast-growing (e.g. Datanomic recently) and ones rapidly emerging with interesting technology (e.g. Exeros). However the data quality market is a long way from being saturated, despite its relative longevity, and Trillium Software is the incumbent benchmark data quality product which the others still have to beat.

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