Melissa Data takes address service onto the Microsoft cloud

Address verification software provider Melissa Data has launched its first foray into “cloud computing”, offering their services an application on the Microsoft’s new cloud computing platform. The company based in Orange County, California, has made its Address Check Web Service available through the Windows Azure Marketplace.

It means customers using Microsoft data quality systems will be able to “plug in” Melissa Data’s address verification software quickly and easily without need to work to integrate the software with existing systems – allowing users without specialist developer coding skills to make use of the service.

It also means small and large businesses can use the Melissa Data service without the need to install software or updates via discs, with the software instead running on Microsoft’s own servers and accessed directly through the internet.

Melissa Data’s service verifies addresses against data from the US Postal Service and Canada Post, and can improve data with the addition of information such as apartment numbers and missing zip codes, to improve mail delivery.

Greg Brown, director of marketing, said that along with the address verification tool, Melissa Data would be rolling out other capabilities into its cloud application over the coming months.

“This is the first foray into the cloud for us, but it’s by no means the end of what we will be offering to customers moving forward,” he said.

Additional services will include the ability to check telephone numbers and geocodes, he said.

“Huge”

Microsoft, which launched its Azure cloud computing platform last year, before rolling out the platform to external app developers earlier this month through the Marketplace, said Melissa Data’s service was a “welcome addition” to its cloud platform.

Prashant Ketkar, director of Windows Azure said: “Melissa Data’s Address Check enables users to easily discover, purchase, and manage premium data subscriptions.”

Brown, who said Microsoft had been very supportive of its move into the cloud platform, said the software giant was really pushing its software as a service (SAAS) cloud capabilities at the moment.

“This is going to be huge,” he said, but added that Melissa Data is also looking to partner with other cloud computing platforms to improve access to its services.

The company is also looking to provide its services more easily for e-commerce companies by integrating with online retail platforms like Demandware, through which it launched new integration last month.

“We’ve partnered with Demandware, one of the largest ecommerce platforms to empower their shopping cart with real-time address verification, so that you know that your fulfilment system will work smoothly, knowing that you have a correct and verified address right at the point of entry,” said Brown.

Despite the move into cloud computing, the Melissa Data director of marketing said his company would continue to support its traditional mailing industry base with its bimonthly updates of address data on discs, to maintain services where there may be limited internet access.

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