Jigsaw launches CRM data updating service

Company-contact information provider's Data Fusion offering will help CRM users clean up their contact data

Contact-information vendor Jigsaw on Tuesday announced Data Fusion, a cloud-based service that ties Jigsaw's database with CRM systems such as Salesforce.com and automatically matches and updates contact records.

Users can decide not to accept certain updates, and also choose which fields within a record should be updated, Jigsaw said.

Unlike other contact-list companies, Jigsaw builds and maintains its database through contributions from a member community.

It claims to have 12 million individual contact records and 800,000 members. Site members are self-policing, and keep the information accurate, Jigsaw CEO Jim Fowler said in an interview last year.

While the San Mateo, California, company is closely aligning Data Fusion with Salesforce.com, offering it for sale through the latter company's AppExchange marketplace, it has also released an API (application programming interface) and toolkit for integrating with any other CRM application.

The service is available on a per-seat, per-month basis. Pricing wasn't immediately available.

Jigsaw's announcement includes a claim that 80 percent of CRM records are either wrong or incomplete. One observer said that it's important to put that figure into context.

"If you're looking at sales databases, those things kind of age out," said Denis Pombriant, founder of Beagle Research. "[But] if somebody's working a deal, the information tends to be very good. If it's been six months, that information could be old and not so good."

While a database may certainly contain many incomplete records, that doesn't necessarily mean the record is useless, said Pombriant, a former software sales person.

"As a person who carried a bag for a long time, the most important thing for me to know was a name and a phone number and maybe an e-mail address," he said.

Details such as zip codes don't matter as much these days, given the prevalence of electronic forms of communication, he said. "The value of a completely pristine database entry may be eroding."

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