Digital and data

Customer Index

Customer Index

Joining the dots

With 100s of service systems in place across the council, as well as team spreadsheets used to manage customer details, it is unavoidable that customer information is scattered across the organisation and often out-of-date. This is challenging and expensive to manage on an organisation level.

It is inefficient for each service and risky where accuracy of details can lead to a disconnected response to vulnerable clients, as well as being subject to fraud. It is also irritating for customers who have to update each service separately with change of details. 

Key project details

  • Multiple datasets in the Index
  • 641,918 records in the Index
  • 333,144 people in the Index

Pulling it all together

Creating a single view out of a jigsaw puzzle of information. 

There were several challenges to creating a Customer Index:

  1. Technical integration - separate third party systems with different mechanisms for extracting data
  2. Deciding on identity fields - without a consistent council-wide approach to the capturing of data, the identity information of an individual held in each system varied greatly
  3. Matching people - although BHCC has ClearCore as a tool to match records, it's somewhere between a science and an art 

The matching process alone, has taken over 18 months to perfect. Where some data held in systems only contains first name, last name and address and where a resident might have moved addresses before the service system has been updated, it's extremely challenging to match records between service systems. 


data storage

Consistency of approach

We're better together. 

There are several ways to increase the ease of establishing a single record of a customer from disparate systems:

  1. Get it right first time - if all services implement the same criteria for capturing information then the success of data matching between systems is significantly improved
  2. Data storage - storing data within databases in services improves the chances of extracting identity information into a single Customer Index database
  3. System integration - building and procuring service systems that enable API functionality, significantly improves the ability to integrate data for a corporate solution 

Although we have been tasked with pulling data together, out of service systems, we recognised that creating a single start point for the customer identity journey would provide a more sustainable solution going forwards. To that end, we created a single identity Mendix module (Citizen ID form) which captures the identity of a resident at the start of all input forms. This is further enhanced with the use of MyAccount, which effectively 'locks' the customer record behind their own login credentials. 

Incremental improvement

Building on the foundations. 

A single record of a customer makes sense for all organisations. It means that there is only one version of the 'truth' and this is shared with relevant services. The cascading of this identity information outwards means that any change to a resident's circumstances are provided once by the customer and utilised by services to ensure accuracy of information in all service systems.