Where in the End-to-End Should Address Standardization and Correction Happen?

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By David Loshin

In my last post, I shared a story about how rampant address validation actually can transform accurate (if not 100% standardized) addresses into inaccurate ones. My client actually noted that with some of the tools they have seen, addresses that have been submitted to the product and standardized are then re-submitted to the product, which then reports their own corrected address as being invalid! Huh?

Here are a few reflections:

1) Siloed application development has led to multiple iterations of address correction, often using different tools, or if using the same tool, using different sets of rules, which is probably not the best scenario since it will lead to inconsistencies.

2) Address standardization tools have to be maintained - the rules may change, locations may change, the standards may evolve.

3) The criticality of precision and standardization/validation has to be assessed in the context of how the address (or location) is being used. For example, for delivery purposes accuracy should trump "validity" if a validated address is no longer correct.

4) Find a single tool solution for address standardization and validation instead of using multiple products.

5) Have a single team responsible for managing the solicitation of requirements, definition of rules, and provision of address validation and correction services.
One last thought: push address correction and validation to the earliest point in the business process. If your application solicits an address from the customer, validate it right away and have the corrected address verified directly by the customer. And trust the customer to give you accurate address data - they probably have some experience in ensuring they get their mailings!

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