A Resolution Your Company Needs to Keep – Entity Resolution

Pam Roman

Entity Resolution (ER) is an important tool used to address data issues, from the most serious – stopping international fraud – to the most basic – finding duplicate names in your customer list. Now, advancements in artificial intelligence and automation for ER make it more useful and valuable than ever.

What is Entity Resolution

Entity resolution is the analysis of multiple “entities,” which includes people, places, events and objects/assets, to determine how those items are – or are not – linked. The power of ER is to look at non-obvious connections within a data set and make those connections obvious. Jeff Jonas, CEO of Senzing, an artificial intelligence (AI) company focused on ER, puts it in simpler terms: “ER determines who is who and who is related to who in data.”

As a simple example from Senzing, here are different entity profiles housed in a company.

Different entity profiles housed in a company.

In this scenario, there could be anywhere from one to five separate entities. Entity resolution is important because it tries to create a single version of the “truth” for any given entity that the business deals with. Senzing Entity Resolution software uses “entity-centric learning,” a form of artificial intelligence, to make new judgments – and change previous resolutions – in real time, based on new information coming in or leaving.

Three major uses for ER

Fraud – Bad guys are continually trying to get away with things, and they’re becoming more and more sophisticated with multiple false or misleading identities and the type of transactions they try to carry out. Most larger companies have fraud alerts, but what they don’t have is the time or manpower to analyze every alert, let alone find otherwise non-obvious connections with other data. ER software can be programmed for automatic entity resolution based on the number and types of attributes linked. The ER system then runs mock scenarios to see how outcomes would change under the resolution – helping to indicate if and where the fraud exists.   

Data governance Companies want clean, understandable data for a host of analytical purposes. For many types or organizations, the largest amount of data relates to customers. Customer data is often duplicated across and within many systems: transaction history, credit card info, loyalty programs and so on. ER gives companies a big step toward clean data and greater insight when it comes to “know your customer” (KYC). This makes for much more efficient and successful sales and marketing campaigns as well as generating a better overall customer experience. ER has the added benefit of saving money on data storage costs by eliminating multiple duplicate records.

CCPA/GDPR – California’s Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA) and EU’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) and laws like them give individuals a level of control over how companies use their collected data. This includes what’s generally referred to as the “right to be forgotten” – having a company delete the requestor’s information as mandated by the applicable law. Hefty fines can be imposed for non-compliance. ER takes the request form and compares it against the company’s databases to connect related information into one record, which can then be deleted, all while providing an audit trail.    

Other uses include ensuring regulatory compliance, applicant and vendor screening, and modernizing record and registration systems.

How Prolifics can help

Prolifics has joined forces with Senzing to further Jeff Jonas’ goal of making high quality ER available to mainstream companies. Senzing offers a plug-and-play, real-time AI for ER desktop app and a more advanced API version for developers. Senzing’s ER is a type of middleware. Prolifics can provide the data solutions and services to prepare your data for ER, and the services and solutions to get the desired operational outcomes implemented after entity resolution. You don’t need a million-dollar-plus budget, expensive ER experts, or a large number of IT resources to deploy Senzing ER. Connect with Prolifics at solutions@prolifics.com.

For more information, watch Jeff Jonas’ visit to the Innovation Sandbox. And don’t miss his story about running a marathon with his mom!