What Is Identity Resolution?

Identity resolution is the process of accurately associating data with people who interact with your business. Identity resolution is required to build a 360-degree view of your customers, partners, suppliers and others. In today’s world, data is the lifeblood of any data-driven organization. To be successful, enterprises must be able to identify customers, partners and suppliers in their data environments. This includes large on-premises, hybrid, multi-cloud and cloud-based data ecosystems. With so much data volume and variety, how can you be sure that your customers, partners and suppliers are accurately identified in your systems — even across multiple languages? With identity resolution software, you have a centralized system to resolve identities across all your data and applications. Identity resolution makes your information more trustworthy, improves customer service, enhances operational efficiencies and increases data analytics reliability. It can help you detect fraud, identify your best customers and improve customer contact methods.

Search and match identities with identity resolution

Quickly search and match identity in real time with Informatica identity resolution software.

Figure 1: Quickly search and match identity in real time with Informatica identity resolution software.

Why Does Identity Resolution Matter?

Identity resolution helps at all stages of the data modernization journey. With identity resolution, you can enhance the value of your integrated data management and master data management (MDM) initiatives. For instance, identity resolution boosts MDM’s trusted foundation, helping you gain a competitive advantage to enhance business results in challenging areas including:

  • Mergers and acquisitions
  • Governance and compliance
  • Customer experience programs
  • Multilanguage environments
  • Financial reporting and forecasting

How Does Identity Resolution Work?

High-precision, high-volume identity resolution is robust and scalable. It helps businesses overcome some of their biggest data identity challenges. For instance, identity resolution lets you search and match identity data from dozens of countries at the same time. It works in both batch and real-time modes. Here’s a brief five-phase overview of how identity resolution works:

  1. Search identity data - With identity resolution, you can search just about all data, including associated products, assets and financial data. You can quickly and accurately notate all identity matches. This includes any language, structure, format, location, duplication and omissions or errors. Using intelligent algorithms and strategies, you can emulate an expert user’s ability to recognize matches and locate identity data records across applications. Identity resolution also enables you to discover hidden connections among people, accounts, organizations and products. The result? You experience reliable and accurate search, match and grouping results.
  2. Overcome errors – Identity resolution helps you avoid and overcome data entry errors. This even includes intentional errors and variations. This is especially important when you’re dealing with international names and physical addresses. When you overcome errors with identity resolution, you can use and maintain high-quality data that enhances strategic business decisions.
  3. Work across your enterprise – With the right identity resolution solution, third-party enterprise applications are easily integrated into your identity resolution initiative. You can either deploy your data quality processes or embed identity data matching capabilities. You can also deliver near-universal connectivity, data transformation, data cleansing and data quality monitoring.
  4. Increase operational efficiency – Planning and implementing data governance, risk and compliance processes can be costly. With identity resolution, you can decrease costs for detecting and addressing costly issues – from fraud detection to money laundering. You can do this across a wide range of federal, regional and local government processes and functions including law enforcement, border patrol and national security.
  5. Manage new data from a merger or acquisition – Company growth due to mergers and acquisitions can expand identity resolution management complexity overnight. Effective identity resolution drives operational efficiency to help you address massive organizational changes and global growth. You can broaden the scope and reach of international or regional applications by improving data matching across different languages. You can also reduce costs associated with third-party and customized application development. By ensuring business applications contain high-quality identity data, you can lower the risk of IT project failure.

Identity Resolution Challenges

Some common challenges associated with identity resolution include:

Complexity – Given how complex identity data is today, companies are challenged with bringing it all together safely. They are looking for ways to eliminate errors and duplications. To address the growing scale and complexity of identity data, AI-powered matching algorithms are critical to identity resolution success.

Time – Identity data is often needed in real time. Yet it may take months for companies to ensure that their identity data is cleansed and de-duped enough to derive value. Just one customer’s identity may have multiple phone numbers, email addresses, cookies, IP addresses and physical addresses. When you multiply this issue by millions of people, you can quickly see how time-consuming identity resolution can be.

Bandwidth – Companies need code-free solutions to manage their identity data. Whether it’s first-party or third-party data, effective identity resolution is needed to manage your organizational and technical bandwidth. Then you can be forward-looking in your identity resolution planning and implementation.

Consistency – It’s imperative for your identity data to be trustworthy. Data consistency is the key to making data trustworthy. You can’t work effectively if your data contains multiple fields and identities. A common example of this is when you try to create a unique customer ID for known customers when prospects are included in the database.

Identity Resolution Key Features

Look for these qualities in an identity resolution solution to help you overcome data fragmentation, errors and complexity:

Smart indexing and key-building – No matter how complex your identity data is, smart indexing and key building features can help. Key-building algorithms overcome unavoidable variations in identity data. Generating sophisticated “fuzzy logic” keys helps overcome phonetic transliteration, missing or out-of-order words and other data variations.

Real-time identity data search – Identity resolution can help you generate intelligent searches, no matter what source data is missing. This is regardless of the country, language or character set. You can balance the performance and comprehensiveness of your search at runtime with pre-built and customizable search strategies.

Multilanguage identity data match – Identity resolution helps you get accurate identity record matches, even if you are missing source data when you leverage high-precision identity data matching. Ensure that your records are accurate regardless of country, language or character set. Benefit from population-aware data matches with access to out-of-the-box identity and compliance match rules for multiple countries.

Multilanguage identity matching with identity resolution

Easily build sophisticated matching capability into your applications, including non-Latin character sets, with identity resolution.

Figure 2: Easily build sophisticated matching capability into your applications, including non-Latin character sets, with identity resolution.

Identity Resolution Benefits

Reliable, high-quality identity resolution delivers multiple organizational benefits including:

Improved risk management and compliance – Detect fraud and ensure compliance in complex and sensitive areas of law related to:

  • Money laundering, economics and trade sanctions
  • Basel II and countering the financing of terrorism
  • Agencies including the Office of Foreign Assets Control, the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network and the United Crimes Elimination Network

Increased operational efficiency for:

  • Accelerated workloads so you can search and match identity more efficiently across your entire data operation
  • Enhanced flexibility including whether data can be formatted or unformatted, scrubbed or raw and sourced locally or from another organization, region or country
  • Increased accuracy to search, match, group, screen and link identity data, enhancing the effectiveness of data management
  • Strengthened operations including regulatory compliance, fraud detection, law enforcement and security operations

Improved decision-making – Base business decisions on complete, accurate, consistent and current identity data. Identify, eliminate and prevent the spread of errors, duplicates or inconsistencies in your customer identity data hub. You can ensure accurate customer intelligence reporting and analysis. Make better decisions faster with complete, accurate, consistent and current customer data.

Improved risk management and compliance processes – Identity resolution supplies your business with reliable, high-quality identity data that you can use to enhance compliance reporting and risk assessment.

Enhance customer experience – With a single, more comprehensive and accurate view of your customers, you can identify customers in online inquiries and for omnichannel commerce. You can identify your best customers and improve customer contact methods. With higher-quality data, you can reduce customer turnover and improve customer contact, managing customers through their own unique journeys. Then you can provide them with more satisfactory customer-centric experiences.

Maximize the value of technology investments – Identity resolution solidifies the anticipated value of your most strategic business initiatives. A powerful data-matching engine enables you to make the most of disparate data sets and create unique identities from multiple records. It helps ensure that your business applications and systems contain high-quality identity data at every turn.

Handle the most challenging use cases in real time – With identity resolution, you can search, match and manage identity data records from multiple countries. This lets you handle the most formidable tasks such as using different alphabets and handling complex, multilanguage identity data including Latin, Arabic and Cyrillic.

Identity Resolution Use Cases

Identity data resolution is used across multiple industries including:

Financial Services – In the financial services sector, data resolution is used to calculate and manage risk as organizations combat financial cybercrimes. Organizations can manage sensitive situations involving highly exposed individuals and high-risk countries to calculate and address circumstances that can lead to costly risk.

Retail – Identity resolution is one of the best ways for retailers to get a clear picture of a customer profile. This helps them better understand their constituents. Create a more complete view of your customer with clarified data from multiple sources with identity resolution in the retail environment.

Healthcare – Identity resolution is critical for ensuring that the right care is provided to the right patient. It also helps ensure that private conversations remain private at every touchpoint. With identity resolution, healthcare organizations can orchestrate and manage a consumer’s identity from a single, integrated platform. The dream of convenient, real-time engagement between provider and patient becomes a reality.

Government – For government agencies and the public sector, it’s critical to guard against identity fraud and errors. Organizations must ensure that identities are accurate and checked against people or organizations who commit fraud. For agencies and departments, this represents an opportunity to both decrease operational costs and optimize the efficiency of an Integration Competency Center. Health and human services, community and economic development and tax collection settings all benefit when an identity graph or single, comprehensive view of the individual is provided.

Identity Resolution Examples

Saving Over $4 Million at the Queensland Police Service

Queensland Police Service (QPS) is the law enforcement agency that polices the state of Queensland, Australia. Some identities in their older databases were missing, duplicated or even wrong. They invested in administrative workers to manually update entries. They found this method ineffective and needed a long-term fix that could transform their IT system. They also needed to be able to purify their data and eliminate identity duplication.

QPS chose Informatica data quality and identity resolution solutions. With Informatica, QPS saw a return on their investment (ROI) in just two months. Informatica cleaned up their data and removed all duplicate information, saving 79 years in worker time and over $4 million in employee compensation. Now they can trust in their underlying data and experience advantages, including:

  • Increased data value
  • Enhanced public and police safety
  • Reduced costs by more than $4.4 million
  • Greater assurance in police judgment
  • Lower danger of litigation
  • Reduced IT expenses and cost of crime prevention

Combating Cybercrime at CNP Assurances

CNP Assurances is the second largest provider of life insurance in France and a leading insurer across Europe and Brazil. Their digital transformation goal was to fight financial cybercrime. They turned to Informatica MDM and identity resolution software to calculate risk with politically exposed individuals and in high-risk countries. Informatica enhances the company’s ability to:

  • Prevent money laundering
  • Improve compliance with LCB-FT and other regulations
  • Boost data integrity and stability in financial markets
  • Comply with multiple Anti-Money Laundering/Combating the Financing of Terrorism (AML/CFT) regulations
  • Search for and match identity data to discover potential connections to terrorist organizations
  • Identify and freeze customer assets that could potentially fund terrorist groups

Benoît Lecussan, CNP Assurances’ Product Manager LCB-FT explains, “Informatica is helping us combat financial cybercrime, while achieving our digital business goals.”

Processing 65 Million Claims Annually at the Utah Department of Health

The Utah Department of Health (UDH) monitors Utah’s food, air and water quality. They also help prevent the spread of infectious diseases. UDH needed to transform their enterprise to support a new healthcare platform. They also needed to provide a statewide, long-term view of patient care and costs. Their IT infrastructure was based on multiple, complex legacy systems. These systems could not keep pace with the goals provided by state officials. The department was unable to obtain a clear, long-term view of patient data and healthcare costs. It sometimes took six months to add a year’s worth of patient data and records to the system.

To link together, clean and encrypt the data from their IT systems, the Utah Department of Health selected Informatica. Using Informatica’s identity resolution solution, officials matched enrollment and claims records with existing individuals. If no match could be found, they created a new identity. This capability eliminated the painstaking practice of matching records by hand. In total, 150 million records were entered into the All Payer Database. They were able to support up to 65 million claims annually. At present, the database holds complete records for 70% of Utah’s population.

Thanks to the integrity of the data now available, consumers can use the database to research the cost and quality of different providers, hospitals and health plans. This helps users make better decisions about their care. Employers can also use the database to reduce the cost of insurance for their employees. For UDH, valuable resources have been freed up to support other critical areas, such as research and new reform initiatives.


Does your enterprise include large volumes of data across complex data silos? If so, you need an intelligent, automated identity resolution solution that can help you accurately identify customers, partners and suppliers in your data environment. When your identity data is more trustworthy, you can improve customer service, enhance operational efficiencies and increase the reliability of data analytics. Identity resolution is a critical piece of the data modernization journey.

Identity Resolution Resources

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