Survivorship - Melissa UK
Survivorship is the process of verifying data in each contact record that captures all the pertinent information needed about a customer.

Survivorship is the process of verifying data in each contact record field to identify the “single source of truth”, or the record that captures all the pertinent information needed about a customer, resource, product or service. Once all of the actual data in each field is verified, it can then be passed into a single, accurate and complete version of that contact record. This is known as “The Golden Record”.

How Does the Survivorship Process Work?

During the record-matching process, various techniques are used in selecting the best possible candidate. Factors such as structure and source of data, how it’s populated and what kind of data is stored all come into play when performing survivorship. Three techniques commonly used to select the surviving record include:

  • Most Recent: Date-stamped records in order from most to least recent can be ordered
  • Most Frequent: Matches repeating records that contain the same information
  • Most Complete: Considers field completeness as an indication of record accuracy

Below are visual examples of these record-matching techniques, which illustrate why pattern recognition methods are not always the most reliable way to determine the surviving record.

Most Recent

Here, the record with a valid phone number is determined to be the surviving rather than the most recent one:

Survivorship Most Recent Records - Melissa UK

Most Frequent

Though the last two records are the most frequent, the data is invalid. Therefore, the first record is the surviving record as it contains a valid address:

Survivorship Most Frequent Records - Melissa UK

Most Complete

In this example, the most complete record contains an invalid phone number, so the surviving record would be the second one:

Survivorship Most Complete Records - Melissa UK

These pattern-based techniques are just the first step in determining the surviving record. The next step is to add in a data quality tool like Melissa’s MatchUp, which quickly finds and links customer data, plus consolidates data across multiple sources to remove unwanted business and customer records. Using the Melissa approach, the Golden Record is determined by a data quality score which takes into consideration the quality of information provided and uses that as a basis of survivorship.

Why Melissa?

Melissa has specialized in global data quality for over 35 years. More than 10,000 customers worldwide rely on Melissa’s data quality and identity verification software to profile, cleanse, match and enhance their data for greater insight and more meaningful customer relationships. Melissa includes Golden Record functionality in its MatchUp Component for SQL Server Integration Services (SSIS). MatchUp SSIS allows for the intelligent selection of the Golden Record from a group of duplicates to create a single, accurate and complete version of each customer record. MatchUp identifies the best record of a matched group based on virtually unlimited criteria including:

  • Data Quality Score (most accurate address, name, phone, and/or email address)
  • Last Updated
  • Most Complete
  • Custom Expression

It’s important that businesses understand how survivorship works and how Golden Records are established, validated and applied to their own information. Once the Golden Record is determined, businesses can be sure the information is consistent across all instances of the data.

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