Improving the value of internal contact data assets is one area where the Cloud can be of significant value and a competitive edge.
Data quality functions such as address and telephone number verification require actual reference data for the the complete validation process to occur. Not only must an address or telephone number have the proper structure and the individual data elements standardized to be of use, but a data comparison must happen to determine whether or not the point of contact actually exists in the physical world.
To be of maximum value, this kind of comparison must be made against trusted reference data. This reference data usually comes from "truth" sources such as postal authorities and the various databases they publish, public telephone number resources, and several other points of reference.
The challenge with utilizing these reference datasets as part of the validation process is that the content is always changing. New homes are built, new area codes and zip codes emerge, and points of contact frequently change. Using outdated reference data can make these validations of diminishing value. On the flip side, there can be considerable cost associated with frequently updating these sources of reference data.
This makes the Cloud an ideal scenario for these kinds of contact data verification functions. In this approach, all of the reference data can be changed/updated in just one place. Then, many different systems, applications, and Web sites from multiple organizations can share and utilize the same, constantly-updated reference data.
These shared reference datasets are not typically accessed directly and in the raw. They are best utilized via standardized Cloud services that provide an interface and some additional matching capabilities for maximum results. It is the access to these interfaces which is actually shared.
This approach dramatically reduces the effort involved for those organizations who find it necessary, if not crucial, to have the highest possible degree of accuracy and validation within their customer and prospect contact data. The ongoing, internal data updating requirements of the reference data disappear (as well as the corresponding cost) as it all happens behind the scenes in the Cloud by the managing organization (such as StrikeIron).
Using Web Services protocols such as SOAP and REST then make it easy to snap this functionality into applications and business processes, systems, and Web sites of all kinds where contact data is captured, regardless of the software or hardware platforms in use.
This is a great example of leveraging the Cloud for better, easier, more cost-effective solutions, especially in the area of contact data information, where more accurate and up-to-date internal contact data is of critical importance.