Reducing data latency to drive competitive advantage

Published on 30-Dec-2011

Validated on 07 Oct 2013

"When your data is better, your decisions are better—and that is how IBM will help us drive the bottom line." - Chad Fitz, Consumer Information Products Leader, Acxiom


Media & Entertainment

Deployment country:
United States

PureData System for Analytics (powered by Netezza technology), Data Warehouse, Information Infrastructure, Smarter Computing


With over 40 years of interactive marketing services experience, Acxiom enjoys worldwide success as a leader in providing consumer data and analytics, information technology, data integration and consulting.

Business need:
Accommodate business and data volume growths to maintain the richest and most accurate marketing database. Demands to keep information up-to-date 24x7. Load from growing portfolio of data products threatens data credibility and operational efficiencies.

A purpose-built, high-performance datawarehouse appliance that makes advanced analytics on very large datavolumes simpler, faster and more accessible

Ability to process 8-9 billion records (6-7 TB of data) per month; can capture 2,000 unique elements on each U.S. household; reduced data latency achieved with 3-minute bulk data loads

Case Study

With over 40 years of interactive marketing services experience, Acxiom enjoys worldwide success as a leader in providing consumer data and analytics, information technology, data integration and consulting. Throughout that time, a key contributor to the company’s long-term growth has been its impressive InfoBase system of interactive marketing databases that enables clients to build profitable business relationships with customers through deep insight into demographics,psycho graphics and behaviors.

In its next-generation InfoBase platform, Acxiom will utilize IBM® PureData System for Analytics, powered by Netezza®technology. As with the classic InfoBase, the new data warehouse platform will contain thousands of individual data elements reflecting demographics, lifestyle clusters, life events, consumer behaviors, buying activity and historical trends. The IBM PureData System for Analytics will assist in streamlining management of the platform.

Using the extensive InfoBase database of consumer information as the foundation, Acxiom can apply logic and analytics to leverage this information in order to put data to work efficiently and effectively. This helps clients refine their marketing campaigns and strengthen their customer relationships by tailoring customer interactions to each individual based on his or her characteristics and preferences.

InfoBase is the basis for well-established Acxiom data products such as Personicx® and InfoBase Enhancement, Consumer List, Life Events and more—each of which can provide unique consumer insight. Acxiom data products are based on current marketing information that can provide clients with the insight to enable them to deliver the right offer to the right individuals at the right time.

With ever-increasing client demands, ever-growing data volumes and an ever-changing industry, Acxiom has set three strategic goals in order to remain the leader in its market:

• Maintain the quality of its database in order to consistently provide the most complete, accurate and current consumer insight information available, covering every household in the US This has always been a core tenet at Acxiom, and one that the company is committed to upholding even as business—and data volume—continues to grow. Accommodating this growth requires a data warehouse that can offer seamless scalability, high-performance and near real-time data refreshes. More specifically, Acxiom wants the ability to add new data to the database at any time, even before an existing data process cycle is complete. Doing so will enable the company to avoid data latency issues so that Acxiom can continue delivering fresh, up-to-date data to its expanding client base.
• Simplify its operational approach, consolidating various products’ data into a single, comprehensive database to avoid siloed or redundant build-to-delivery processes. With a multitude of products using the same input files being processed simultaneously, the build-to-delivery process could become siloed and, in addition, there could be some risk of data redundancy. The new platform must meet Acxiom’s high standards of efficiency while avoiding siloing and redundancy. It must also have the ability to get new data into the database quickly, identify where new data collides with existing information, and then apply business logic to decide which data is accurate. In addition to making life easier from an administrative point of view, the ability to bring the data for all products together into a comprehensive database makes Acxiom’s value proposition simpler and more appealing to clients who will be able to further customize their own solutions.
• By making proactive recommendations based on a client’s specific needs and/or recent events, Acxiom can increase its value provided to clients. Rather than simply reporting on what happened yesterday, Acxiom seeks to predict what will happen tomorrow in order to recommend a tailored plan of action for each client.

After evaluating multiple options (including several technologies) toward achieving these strategic initiatives,Acxiom determined that PureData System for Analytics,would be its best choice for successfully accommodating the consolidation of data from Acxiom’s products while enabling Acxiom to provide to its clients extremely fast performance and scalability at a reasonable cost.

Multi-sourced data acquisition differentiates Acxiom’s offerings
With IBM PureData System for Analytics, Acxiom has the ability to acquire data from over 10 times as many sources as some of its competitors, further expanding its already leading edge data accuracy, data quality and match rates.

Changes signal opportunities
Life events affect consumers dramatically—they start new jobs, move to new locations, get married, have children— and these life changes affect consumer purchase patterns. Companies trying to keep pace cannot afford to wait days or weeks for information that no longer reflects the actions,behaviors and preferences of the consumers they want to reach. Information used to address today’s consumers must be fresh and accurate. Nobody wants to receive a compelling financing offer three weeks after buying a new car.

The parallel architecture and advanced filtering mechanism of IBM PureData System for Analytics will enable Acxiom to quickly pinpoint changes in the database and verify the currency of those changes. It takes IBM PureData System for Analytics just two to three minutes to process bulk data loads,which means that all changes to the database can be introduced within hours of the actual change or event. This helps Acxiom to pro actively reach out to clients with suggested actions as new events occur that trigger new marketing opportunities.

Identifying lifestyle information and changes
Personicx, Acxiom’s premier household-level segmentation system, specializes in identifying consumer lifestyle information such as age range, family demographics and income. Acxiom’s Personicx database utilizes segmentation codes that categorize households into a particular lifestyle group based on demographic and behavioral characteristics. The Personicx code applicable to a particular household may not change very often, but when a major life event occurs that does change the Personicx code, it is extremely important for Acxiom to make the change within its database in near realtime, provide that updated data to its clients, and make proactive marketing recommendations to its clients based on each client’s unique goals.

About Acxiom
Acxiom is a recognized leader in marketing services and technology that enable marketers to successfully manage audiences, personalize consumer experiences and create profitable customer relationships. Our superior industry focused,consultative approach combines consumer data and analytics, databases, data integration and consulting solutions for personalized, multichannel marketing strategies. Acxiom leverages over 40 years of experience in data management to deliver high-performance, highly secure, reliable information management services. Founded in 1969, Acxiom is headquartered in Little Rock, Arkansas, USA, and serves clients around the world from locations in the United States,Europe, Asia-Pacific, the Middle East and South America. For more information about Acxiom, visit

About IBM PureData System for Analytics
The IBM PureData System for Analytics, powered by Netezza technology, integrates database, server and storage into a single,easy­to-manage appliance that requires minimal setup and ongoing administration while producing faster and more consistent analytic performance. The IBM PureData System for Analytics simplifies business analytics dramatically by consolidating all analytic activity in the appliance, right where the data resides, for industry-leading performance. Visit: to see how our family of expert integrated systems eliminates complexity at every step and helps you drive true business value for your organization.

About IBM Data Warehousing and Analytics Solutions
IBM provides the broadest and most comprehensive portfolio of data warehousing, information management and business analytic software, hardware and solutions to help customers maximize the value of their information assets and discover new insights to make better and faster decisions and optimize their business outcomes.

For more information
Help IT make the shift to the strategic center of your business,and leverage proven expertise to take the lead. To learn more about the PureSystems family and the PureData System for Analytics, contact your IBM representative or IBM Business Partner, or visit the following website: or software/data/puredata/analytics.

Additionally, IBM Global Financing can help you acquire the software capabilities that your business needs in the most cost-effective and strategic way possible. We’ll partner with credit-qualified clients to customize a financing solution to suit your business and development goals, enable effective cash management, and improve your total cost of ownership. Fund your critical IT investment and propel your business forward with IBM Global Financing. For more information, visit: ibm.

Products and services used

IBM products and services that were used in this case study.

InfoSphere DataStage, IBM Netezza Performance Server, IBM Netezza 1000, PureData System for Analytics (powered by Netezza technology)

Legal Information

© Copyright IBM Corporation 2013 IBM Corporation Software Group Route 100 Somers, NY 10589 Produced in the United States of America April 2013 IBM, the IBM logo,, PureData, InfoSphere and PureSystems are trademarks of International Business Machines Corp., registered in many jurisdictions worldwide. Other product and service names might be trademarks of IBM or other companies. A current list of IBM trademarks is available on the Web at “Copyright and trademark information” at Netezza® is a registered trademarks of IBM International Group B.V.,an IBM Company. This document is current as of the initial date of publication and may bechanged by IBM at any time. Not all offerings are available in everycountry in which IBM operates. The performance data and client examples cited are presented forillustrative purposes only. Actual performance results may vary dependingon specific configurations and operating conditions. It is the user’sresponsibility to evaluate and verify the operation of any other productsor programs with IBM products and programs. Statements regarding IBM’s future direction and intent are subject to changeor withdrawal without notice, and represent goals and objectives only. Actualavailable storage capacity may be reported for both uncompressed andcompressed data and will vary and may be less than stated. *Client quotes are based on the Netezza 1000 product. The Netezza 1000has been upgraded and replaced by IBM PureData System for Analytics,powered by Netezza technology.