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record linkage : The Practitioner's Guide to Data Quality Improvement

US Congress Recognizes Value of “Data Matching”

March 15, 2011 by · Comments Off on US Congress Recognizes Value of “Data Matching”
Filed under: Data Governance, Data Quality 

I was alerted to Kentucky Representative Geoff Davis’s opening remarks at a hearing of the Human Resources subcommittee of the House Ways and Means committee on March 11, 2011, in which he basically promoted the use of data quality technology for “improving customer service, program integrity, and taxpayer savings.” A large part of this drive to reduce fraud and abuse centers on reduction in improper payments, reflecting payments going to the wrong recipient, the wrong amount, or fraudulent payments. Apparently, in 2010, the total amount of improper payments was $125 billion (!!!), up from somewhat over $100 billion the year before. Unemployment insurance and supplemental security income accounted for almost 20% of that 2010 amount.
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Variant Approaches to Identity Resolution and Record Matching

January 18, 2011 by · 1 Comment
Filed under: Data Analysis, Identity Resolution 

I had a set of discussions recently from representatives of different business functions and found an interesting phenomenon: although folks from almost every area of the business indicated a need for some degree of identity resolution and matching, there were different requirements, expectations, processes, and even tools/techniques in place. In some cases it seems that the matching algorithms each uses refers to different data elements, uses different scoring weights, different thresholds, and different processes for manual review of questionable matches. Altogether the result is inconsistency in matching precision.

And it is reasonable for different business functions to have different levels of precision for matching. You don’t need as strict a set of scoring thresholds for matching individuals for the purpose of marketing as you might for assuring customer privacy. But when different tools and methods are used, there is bound to be duplicative work in implementing and managing the different matching processes and rules.

To address this, it might be worth considering whether the existing approaches serve the organization in the most appropriate way. This involves performing at least these steps:

1) Document the current state of matching/identity resolution
2) Profile the data sets to determine the best data attributes for matching
3) Document each business process’s matching requirements
4) Evaluate the existing solutions and determine that the current situation is acceptable or that there is an opportunity to select one specific approach that can be used as a standard across the organization