Basics of Web Services
A web service is a specialized Application Programming Interface (API)—All web services are APIs, but not all APIs are web services. It differs from other APIs in that it uses open protocols to allow communications between systems or applications. Web services are limited to the HTTP protocol and use REST, SOAP, or XML-RPC for communication.
Most commonly, web services are designed as web page requests to help the user receive data. The web service communicates with the source application and helps to publish its functions to the outside world. Because they are designed as a web page, this means that, unlike more traditional APIs, the web service is working outside of a private network.
Because it uses open web protocols, a web service offers more interoperability over other types of distributed architectures. The code used in a web service is dynamic, meaning that the systems can be upgraded automatically and have increased modularity and flexibility. The use of HTTP and SOAP/REST to enable web services makes them truly multi-platform and gives the software a longer lifespan than other traditional APIs or software.
Using a web service for address quality
Approximately 20% of addresses entered online contain errors - spelling mistakes, wrong house numbers, incorrect postal codes, formatting errors that don’t comply with a country’s postal regulations. This can result in late or undeliverable shipments, a costly concern for companies doing business domestically and across borders.
When dealing with large databases full of customer information, an organization will usually take their whole list (or the part that they plan to use for a specific project) and run it through an address hygiene protocol. While this may be fine when dealing with a large mailing, it’s not an economical process when dealing with a single address.
The most efficient way of dealing with correcting a single address is to make the correction and validation while the address is being entered into the database. One of the ways to do this is to use a web service to connect all input points to the address cleansing software and compare the data being entered to the correction data. There are many ways this can be done.
One of the most efficient would be using an address correction web service. A large organization may have many points where customer data is entered. A customer could enter data when making a web purchase, a cashier could enter data into a point of sale machine, or any number of other points such as customer service, loyalty programs, or marketing efforts. A web service could allow disparate systems to communicate effectively over the internet to ensure the data is correct.
Anchor provides several web services for address correction.