Trillium zeroes in on the user

One analyst says you won't see any technology breakthroughs in the new data quality release, but you will find some neat usability additions.

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Trillium Software's new release makes life easier for users, even though it's short on technology breakthroughs, according to those familiar with the application set.

Executives at the Billerica, Mass.-based data quality vendor admit that Trillium Software System Version 7 is all about usability.

"There's a perception that data quality is hard to understand," said Len Dubois, vice president of marketing. "The truth is there are two components. The idea of data integrity can be difficult. The software doesn't have to be. That was the thing we wanted to impart."

Version 7 provides easier customization of data sets through parser tuning and match tuning, Dubois said. Parser tuning allows users to customize both customer and business data, such as past buying decisions. Match tuning lets them link like entities together, such as banking and insurance partners, Dubois said.

While the software isn't notable for its technological steps forward, Trillium is heading in the right direction, according to Robert Lerner, a senior analyst with Current Analysis, in Sterling, Va.

"Overall, I think it's a strong release," Lerner said. "Trillium was one of the major [data quality] products prior to this release, and it still is. If I were to pick a single vendor that's at the top, I would probably pick Trillium."

Version 7 also adds a feature that allows for instant review of data on a live screen.

Additionally, management teams can quickly and easily create a business rule through a drag-and-drop feature, Dubois said.

"The data flow architect really helps users a lot," Lerner said. "You can see the process. That's a great advantage. It's another thing to see what's happening and then be able to direct it with drag-and-drop technology."

Lerner expressed some skepticism at the inclusion of a U.S. Delivery Point Validation system that validates the existence of addresses. The database seems to have a lot of errors in it, he said.

Franklin McNeil III, a consultant for a New York risk management company that uses Trillium software, said that the upgrade doesn't really offer new functions, but it should improve productivity over the older version.

"In Version 6, with the matcher tuner you could have a graphical presentation providing a visual cue of which records matched, but that's the kind of thing you'd have to query out of a table and group," McNeil said. "The new tuner in Version 7 not only groups those records but then filters them."

The upgrade's new universal cleansing adapter also adds an additional 35 countries from which Trillium Software can collect data and filter into separate data results.

Version 7 Unicode edition has also been released for the Chinese, Korean and Taiwanese markets. Adding these countries to the adapter is a move in the right direction, considering the potential markets, Lerner said.

"Trillium is certainly a pioneer in Unicode," Lerner said. "The whole world isn't involved in Latin script. Trillium has made [the] greatest move into the Asia-specific area. I don't think Trillium's made much of a penetration, but it's moving in the right direction."

According to Dubois, currently about 15% of Trillium's customers are from outside the United States; most are in Japan.

Pricing for Version 7 starts at $119,000 for Windows and $148,000 for Unix. Trillium is offering free upgrades for current users.

Trillium is a division of direct marketer Harte-Hanks Inc.

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