10 years ago I spend most of the summer delivering my first large project after being a sole proprietorship. The client – or actually rather the partner – was Dun & Bradsteet’s Nordic operation, who needed an agile solution for matching customer files with their Nordic business reference data sets. The application was named MatchBox.
This solution has grown over the years while D&B’s operation in the Nordics and other parts of Europe is now operated by Bisnode.
Today matching is done with the entire WorldBase holding close to 150 million business entities from all over the world – with all the diversity you can imagine. On the technology side the application has been bundled with the indexing capacities of www.softbool.com and the similarity cleverness of www.omikron.net (disclosure: today I work for Omikron) all built with the RAD tool www.magicsoftware.com. The application is now called GlobalMatchBox.
It has been a great but fearful pleasure for me to have been able to work with setting up and tuning such a data matching engine and environment. Everybody who has worked with data matching knows about the scars you get when avoiding false positives and false negatives. You know that it is just not good enough to say that you only are able to automatically match 40% of the records when it is supposed to be 100%.
So this project has very much been an unlike experience compared to the occasional SMB (Small and Medium size Business) hit and run data quality improvement projects I also do as described in my previous post. With D&B we are not talking about months but years of tuning and I have been guilty of practicing excessive consultancy.