The Silicon Review
Raymond F. Melissa (CEO/ Founder) founded Melissa Corporation in 1985. The corporate office is located in Southern California, with support offices located in Texas, Oregon, Massachusetts, North Carolina, Washington, Germany, the U.K., and India. Melissa helps companies harness the value of their Big Data, legacy data, and people data- such as names, addresses, phone numbers, and emails. The company empowers organizations worldwide to transform data into actionable information through data quality for better operations, customer experience, cost savings and risk mitigation.
‘Our mission is to empower data-driven organizations with affordable data quality solutions to strengthen competitive standing and maximize customer lifetime value,’ says Raymond Melissa.
Outset of Melissa
Ray Melissa founded the company with a mission to monetize data, initially by providing mailers with easy access to accurate ZIP Code™ data to improve mail delivery and reduce postage and production costs associated with undeliverable mail.
Melissa soon realized that virtually every organization in every vertical that deals with customer data had a significant need for tools to improve the quality of their contact data. So, Melissa began offering developer tools to verify address, name, phone, and email information to meet this need. The company expanded these solutions with data quality integrations for many leading ETL, CRM, and ecommerce platforms with a focus on global data quality for companies doing business across borders.
Melissa now offers a suite of multiplatform data quality APIs and Web services for ID, address, name, email and phone verification as well as solutions that integrate into Oracle®, Microsoft ®and Pentaho ® product ecosystems. They expanded the product offering to include not only contact data verification but also data enrichment, IP & geo location, demographics, firmographics, and profiling to assist customers with segmentation and targeting, and Big Data blending for analytics and business intelligence. The company has gone global with sales offices and support staff in the UK, Germany, and India with plans to continue to expand to additional countries each year. Melissa’s latest expansion has been in the area of Global ID Verification, assisting financial services and healthcare organizations with affordable, high quality ID verification solutions that permit fast on-boarding, while helping the organization meet regulatory and compliance requirements and mitigate risk.
A good beginning
Melissa’s first product was a database of ZIP codes on a floppy disk. This Product, ZIP Data, is still offered with USPS® ZIP Code, geographic, and demographic data updated monthly – it’s just not on a floppy anymore.
Meeting customers’ requirements for data quality was a challenge for Melissa early on as data quality was an emerging discipline. In 1985, there was neither Big Data nor Internet of Things -the challenges were on a different scale. “We needed to develop parsing algorithms to effectively work with our customer’s address data and verify and correct it against reference datasets. Now we partner with many different organizations to gather reliable census, location, mortgage, national ID card, and other reference datasets to support and grow our data verification and enrichment solutions. Melissa has always focused on the evolving needs of our customers.”
As more companies go global, their needs for quality data have changed. Melissa meets these new demands by developing solutions that address different languages, character sets, and postal formats and assists customers with consulting and custom processing capabilities.
Road map to success
Because almost 95% of consumers live outside the U.S. and two-thirds of the world’s purchasing power is in foreign countries, Melissa understands the lure of international expansion is compelling for U.S. businesses. This led Melissa to concentrate on expanding their services globally with a goal to meet customers’ current and future needs. “Our main goal is educating organizations on how easy it is to capture and maintain good data; it’s just good business. And, we strive to provide flexible solutions that easily integrate into any customer’s business process and applications.”
Melissa has raised the bar globally
The company has dedicated many man hours and continuous efforts to acquire emerging markets’ reference data to provide their customers with reliable information they can count on as their business grows and expands.
Melissa introduced a new global ID Verification service that helps multinational companies with Know Your Customer (KYC) initiatives, identify Politically Exposed Persons (PEPs), meet Anti-Money Laundering (AML) regulations, and reduce fraud and associated problems. FinTech adoption has doubled in just the last year, and with 4MLD regulations and compliance coming into full effect in 2017, the need for global identity resolution continues to grow.
In the near future
The company’s new products include Global Personator- a flexible solution that provides national ID and age verification, name-to-address verification, address correction and formatting, and contact data validation. This helps enterprises and organizations meet compliance regulations and prevent fraud. The company is also working on the MDQ Hub, an enterprise solution containing all Melissa APIs in a single, standalone software product to clean, complete, correct, match, and enrich customer contact data.
A Leader is one who knows the way, goes the way, and shows the way
Raymond F. Melissa- CEORay is responsible for corporate growth strategy and supervising business and new product development, sales, and marketing. A computer industry veteran, he co-founded several tech-oriented firms during the 1970s, including Eikon, Inc. and in 1974 helped launch Printronix Inc- a computer printer manufacturer. In 1978, Melissa also co-established Trilog, Inc., one of the first companies to develop a color printer.
Bud Walker-VP, Enterprise Sales & Strategy Bud Walker manages strategy, expansion, and vision for Melissa. After more than a decade as the Product Development Manager for Melissa’s APIs and Web services, he now heads up management in all worldwide markets. Walker regularly speaks, contributes articles, and authors white papers to reflect his deep domain knowledge.