DataTalk: String Processing at LifeStatus360

September 5, 2017

String processing – what is it? It is an important part of what we do here at LifeStatus360. We take our customers’ data (the string: “a sequence of characters, either as a literal constant or as some kind of variable) and run it against our extensive sources (Social Security Administration Death Master File, LifeStatus Proprietary, Obit360 and States’ Sources) to determine the mortality of plan participants. In short, our multifaceted SaaS utilizes the data from the customer, to create a results based on the parsing and analysis of the data we receive.

In order for us to accurately and efficiently provide our customers with the data to meet their fiduciary obligations, we require a pre-defined file format because, after all, who knows the data better than the customer? We empower our customers by requiring them to create their data file and make the necessary changes and updates, and while we realize that we are the first in our industry to require pre-defined file format, we’ve discovered that it allows us to produce data quality reports that exceed our customers’ expectations at the fastest rates in the industry.

Tools We Use for String Processing

We receive a variety of questions and request from our customers regarding the best method for formatting or what tools can be used to assist our customers in utilizing our SaaS platform. The ACM Journal of Data and Information Quality 2015, Vol. 5, No. 4, discussed this very topic and made mention of a few tools “in the wild” that are available.

When you’re transporting and transforming data from one system to another, it often entails a dedicated IT team or programmer (maybe two) to extract the data from one system, clean and format the data into the final file or form, and then upload it to the new system. The data may come from a structured or unstructured data set, and it could become a full-blown IT project – not a project for a non-IT specialist.

But – is there another way? Yes!

On the large tool side: In 2008, SAP AG and IBM Research developed a method that infers regular expressions for extracting relevant data automatically based on a set of examples derived from the enterprise business data: “Show me what you have. Show me what you need. Here is the suggested set of expressions needed to extract the data.” Natural language processing! Pretty cool!

On the small tool side: We do have a few options to choose from that will you to clean, standardize and transform data such as URLs, addresses, date-time, names, phone numbers, etc.:

  1. Microsoft Excel: Transform-Data-By-Example
    • From Microsoft Research – Transform Data By Example.
    • This is a fantastic add-on for Microsoft Excel! All you need to do is proved a few examples for the desired output (such as the LifeStatus360 file format) and the add-on will automatically find relevant data transformation functions. It finds the relevant code of function for you that you can then add to the file transformation process.
    • Check out the site for “How to use”, Sample data and FAQs.
  2. Microsoft Excel: Flash FillFlash Fill on Microsoft Office Excel
      • Flash Fill is perfect for separating data, such as first and last names, into separate columns. Flash Fill typically starts working when it recognizes a pattern in your data.


  3. ETL Tools (Extract, Transform and Load)
    • If you are “programming” the solutions, there are many ETL tools to choose from ranging from the outlandishly expensive to open source alternatives. We can help you choose the best tools to transform your data before input into our system.
    • ETL Tools contain a set of function combined into a tool or a solutions to help you extract data from your data sources, applications or other systems. With the rules you can create it transforms the data into the appropriate set to style. Example: yyyymmdd to mm-dd-yyyy. Then it will “load” the results into another database and or file. Since data transformation tends to be a repetitive tasks. Create it once and run it forever (or until the next change or update).
    • Reference: Top ETL Software

How String Processing Benefits Our Death Audit Services

Everything we do here at LifeStatus360 is based on data: our customers provide us with data which we then use against our data sources to check for accuracy and objective fulfillment. Our proprietary SaaS platform provides the fastest results in the Death Audit and Data Compliance industry – as fast as daily – to assist our customers with maintaining their fiduciary obligations.

If you’re currently working with any of our competitors, let us show you the LifeStatus360 difference! Sign up for our 7/30 Challenge and see how quickly you can update your records, and enjoy 25% off your current Death Audit rate when you sign up for our solutions. We know we’re the best, and we want to prove it to you.

Is your pension benefit information secure? At LifeStatus360, it is!

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