Catch Bad Data Before It Wrecks Your Business
Curiously, there are often a number of different terms used to refer to these different transformations: validation, verification, standardization, cleansing and correction. But what do all these things mean? And why are these different terms used if they mean the same thing?
After considering the variety of terms used in describing address quality, the following core concepts must be correct to provide the best benefits for accurate parcel delivery.
- The item must be directed to a specific recipient party (either an individual or an organization).
- The address must be a deliverable address.
- The intended recipient must be associated with the deliverable address.
- The delivery address must conform to the USPS standard.
These assertions translate to specific steps for transforming a provided address into a complete, verified, validated and standardized address.
Based on USPS guidelines, a complete address by definition can be matched with current Postal Service ZIP-plus-four ZIP code and city and state files. Verification means that a complete address matches the USPS files and further has the correct ZIP-plus-four. Validated addresses are consistent with the postal standard in terms of valid and invalid values. For example, a street address cannot have a number that is outside the range of recognized numbers (i.e., if the USPS file says that Main Street goes from 1 to 104, an address with 109 Main St. is invalid). Lastly, standardization means the address is spelled out using USPS standard abbreviations.
These are all essential address quality steps to be managed by your data quality tools, but they underlie the most important element of address correctness. The address may be complete, all the elements may be valid, the ZIP-plus-four is accurate and all values conform to standardized abbreviations ... but business value is not ensured unless the right recipient is associated with the right address. There are many aspects of assessing and assuring the quality and correctness of addresses, and it is a worthwhile business commitment to review the ways your organization verifies, validates, standardizes and corrects its location and customer data.
Greg Brown is vice president of Melissa, provider of global contact data quality and identity verification solutions that span the entire data quality lifecycle and integrate into CRM, e-commerce, master data management and Big Data platforms. Connect with Greg at email@example.com or via LinkedIn.