Data Matching is a wonderful technique that is known to be used across many applications. It covers complex algorithm and can be a mix other f both science an art. But, it’s amazing that these methods/techniques are still implemented across several business so many times.
Let’s first understand what is data matching? It’s basically the process to detect duplicate data from a large base of records. The duplicate entries could be multiple entries of an individual in one or more databases. It could also be duplicate entries for items or descriptions of the inventory.
In this process, the data matching software compares two or more data to find out if either of the data sets in the records are identical. It then allows you to merge the two similar/identical data into one. You can also find non-identical entries, that is equally crucial to be identified since it gives a confirmation that two similar details are indeed not the same.
Before we get into the applications of data matching in businesses, let’s look at the reasons why it’s a challenging task to detect and match records across multiple data sets.
Why is it Challenging to Identify and Match Records Across Multiple Data Sets?
- The records normally have no characteristics that make them simple enough to detect the ones that’s connected to the same entity. Therefore, it’s essential to assess the characteristics that offer limited identification, for example, names and phone numbers of people or title and brands of products. Due to this, data quality is extremely important for the data matching algorithms making it crucial to pre-process the data that’s going to be linked ensuring minimum standard for quality at least for the primary identifier characteristics.
- That can data is prone to change to over the period, is another complexity that adds to the challenges. For instance, while matching two databases for someone’s details, you may come across a situation that the same person has different address or different last names (due to marriage or divorce).
Given that there are no training data available it does not make it easy to approach the problem with a managed learning algorithm. Here arises the need of data matching software that can help identify the duplicate data from large databases. So, now, let’s see the application of data matching techniques in different businesses.
- Detection and Prevention of Crime
Prevention of crime is heavily dependent on collection of information from several different systems allowing correct identification of people. The process requires records to be compared in real-time (to check if they match) throughout individual policing departments. But, if the criminals have been using tweaked and false data, it gets difficult to identify the criminal and prevent crime.
That’s when you need a data matching software that helps identify the false data by enabling you to create a list of possible suspect identities. This will further help prevent any fraudulent claims or payments. Following the same data matching procedure for known criminal or blacklist database can also help in detection.
- Establish Verification
Identity fraud is one crime that is increasingly becoming a threat to people. However, this has also resulted in better techniques to verify identity which is a good sign. Identity theft leads to not just financial losses for individuals, but also for companies.
A quality data matching software can match information from different sources, for instance, from criminal records, driving license records, electoral roll, credit databases, and more.
By matching records continuously, you can keep a watch on identity theft issues while offering a complete data base especially doe identity verification. Just as in crime detection and prevention, finding discrepancies in data and comparing to repeated fraudsters and finding inconsistencies in data can reduce criminal activities, drastically.
- Mailing Lists
Huge funds are spent on Marketing by companies to speed up the business growth. Hence, it’s extremely important to ensure that the same data for direct marketing collateral or emails are not sent twice to the same customers and prospects. This will not just affect the companies repute, but they will also incur losses and sales opportunities will go waste.
Using a duplicate matching software will ensure that it detects any duplicate email is sent to the same customer. If it’s a purchased list you are using and adding the information to an existing database, then using data matching process will ensure that you do not end up adding the same contacts. This will help prevent duplicate details in the system.
- Product Identification
Companies with many different products that are being sold or those which have a long list of component parts will usually apply data matching methods to compare similar products. Usually suppliers offer the same products with different products descriptions, for example, Face Cream, Pond’s Face Cream, Ayurvedic Face Cream, and so, on. It can therefore, give rise to confusion and other problems.
Thus, if you are not careful while categorising the products in the correct manner, inaccurate reporting can result in incorrect products or quantity being ordered.
- Health Services
There is a lot of information about an individual that’s collected from hospitals, physicians, health insurers, pharmacies, etc. This huge data can offer strong details, for instance, the spreading of diseases in specific age groups, spread of epidemic in certain locations, effectiveness of medicines, and so on.
Matching data can connect medical information together which is important, in the absence of which getting the data insights would be difficult.
This data is regularly collected by majority of the countries which is then used to develop trends, environment, population statistics, insights, and culture. while population and housing data is the most common form of census data, traffic, business, and agriculture are also among other common census data collected.
It’s a large database which consumes a lot of your time and hence, matching data using the targeted software helps identify any duplicate data about a person. This helps lower the need to validate and the collection of data in large scale.
Linking modern data together is important and data matching is the best way to make that happen. Ensure data integrity and bad data quality by using these techniques.