Why and How: The Identity Matching Process of Entity Resolution Explained

The number one issue concerning data quality today is the existence of multiple sources for the same information. When this problem becomes excessive, your organization begins to collect duplicate data, creating multiple identities for the same entity. If your team is not aware of this systematic issue, you could be hindering your own customer service initiatives as well as any internal data reporting and analysis. For this reason, identity matching is an important part of any piece of entity resolution software, but also, your master data management efforts as a whole.

Why Identity Matching Is Necessary

Virtually every function of master data management (MDM) relies on the cultivation of a durable and valid base of records. Multiple records pointing to the same source can slow down your sales, operations, and marketing efforts, sometimes even causing technical errors. The strongest master data management programs will not be able to create a proper data infrastructure without first resolving the operational intelligence upon which the infrastructure is based. Identity matching eliminates the need for a manual association of records with their proper entities during every new data entry, reducing computation time as well.

Proper identity matching also allows your company to maintain the strength of your overall data infrastructure over time. Modern entity resolution software technology can provide your organization the ability to procure customized strategies for ongoing information quality measures. Over time, your time and cost savings will increase without a need for a continued investment of the same magnitude. You will gain leverage with every information product that you create, and you will also vastly improve your ability to implement a comprehensive culture of customer relationship management.

How Identity Matching Takes Place

The purpose of identity matching is to create a one-to-one correspondence between each unique entity within your system and the record of that entity. Identity matching is traditionally accomplished through strategic algorithms built based on deterministic matching and/or probabilistic matching.

Deterministic matching checks for any obvious overlapping of two records within your system. If they have the same basic elements—such as names, dates of birth, or social security numbers—the records can be matched as one. This will often happen if you are switching from one data management system into another as you import records into a single infrastructure.

The more robust aspects of identity matching occur during a probabilistic matching process, which use similarity functions to statistically calculate the likelihood that two records are equivalent. Perhaps names have been misspelled during data entry, or two records for one entity have been created, one with an abbreviated street name and the other with the name completely spelled out. It is highly probable that these records are the same, although they are not exactly similar. However, probabilistic matching techniques will be able to connect these records based upon the common errors, colloquialisms, and habits of data entry.

It is important during the identity matching process within your entity resolution platform that relevant information is not lost as records are combined. Modern identity matching also includes an accounting of temporary movements, such as when a contact moves into a new position or a new company entirely. These processes also develop a knowledge base for your organization, explaining why records were combined and how that solution was determined.

The Entity Identity Information Management (EIIM) system that you will find with Black Oak Analytics’ HiPER platform can automate identity management efforts for new records as they come in, maintaining your data’s integrity over time. Additionally, the rules of identity matching are much more transparent, so they can be customized to fit your system.

When you’re ready to talk about how our entity resolution software could change your organization for the better, contact us today!

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