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The inner workings of our commercial data

May 03, 2011 by Al Duckworth

Welcome to my inaugural post on the Experian Business Credit Blog. I am often asked how the business credit information we provide to our customers is created and maintained – so this seems like a good topic to start with.

Our data model takes advantage of the strengths and uniqueness of thousands of data sources, ranging from “firmographic” data sources, to public record sources, to Accounts Receivable (A/R) files as well as some specialty data feeds. Our commercial data repository allows for permanent storage of data from every source exactly as they gave it to us.

Once the data is in file we execute pre-defined rules against every record in file to get the best data element from each source promoted to the composite record that our customer’s see. Think of it this way, we are able to take the Phone Number from “Source A” and the Industry Code from “Source B” etc.

The Business Identification Number (BIN) is one of the keys to our data aggregation model. A BIN is assigned to each business information report and that BIN stays with that business location throughout its life cycle and is “retired” if the business ceases operations. The BIN is also a fundamental component of our corporate hierarchy linkage which allows us to represent business to business ownership within “corporate families.”

The database environment is very dynamic and updates are made to the file throughout each day, most are available to customers in real time. In fact, in the last 30 days there were 44.4 million updates to our file. These updates include a mix of automated updates based on sourced data and updates made by our Costa Mesa, CA based Linkage Maintenance team resulting from scheduled reviews of corporate hierarchies and completed Merger and Acquisition (M&A) events. In addition, our Costa Mesa, CA based Commercial Relations team will make updates based on feedback from interested parties such as customers.

The end result is a file of about 25 million business credit reports that our customers rely on to help them make key business decisions.

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