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The auto data aggregator ditched its mainframe, spending more than $20 million to build a data factory. Was it worth it?
.L. Polk & Co. Base Case">
R.L. Polk & Co. Base Case
HEADQUARTERS: 26955 Northwestern Hwy., Southfield, MI 48034
PHONE: (248) 728-7000
BUSINESS: Collects and sells vehicle sales and registration data.
CHIEF INFORMATION OFFICER: Kevin Vasconi
REVENUE, 2005: $275 million (Baseline estimate)
CHALLENGES: Improve efficiency and speed up the process of
turning raw data into packaged information products.
- Reduce time to process incoming data by 50% from 2004 to 2006.
- Cut administrative costs by 50% over the same period.
- Strive for 100% data accuracy over the same period.
Inside the Data factory R.L. Polk's new data-processing system uses a service-oriented architecture to coordinate tasks among several discrete clusters of servers.
- Data is fed from 260 different sources.
- Software converts the data into standard eXtensible Markup Language documents.
- Service-orchestration software evaluates each XML document and determines which elements need additional processing (i.e., appending ZIP+4 code).
- At the same time, data-quality software compares incoming information with a historical profile of what's normal for that type of data; exceptions are investigated.
- Processed data is inserted into a database repository, Polk's single source of truth; from there, information is extracted into separate data warehouses for customer to access.