helpIT systems was founded by Steve Tootill in 1991, following his experience running the IT department at Family Assurance Society in the UK. Here, he realized that there were no reasonably priced deduplication packages available that would make use of all the data that a company held about its customers. Steve co-wrote the initial version of matchIT as a packaged software product, with Prudential Life of Ireland committed to using matchIT as soon as it became available. Steve’s background in the packaged software business (nearly 10 years with Computations Pty Ltd of Sydney, Australia) enabled him to ensure that the development covered a wide spectrum of potential requirements for the vastly differing needs of organizations from different industries.
Steve’s father Geoff, a skilled linguist and classics scholar, designed the uniquely effective phonetic algorithm, soundIT, which powers much of the fuzzy matching in helpIT’s software. Geoff Tootill was one of the leading architects of the world’s first real computer, the Manchester University “Baby”, which first ran in June 1948 – this was the first “stored program” computer, i.e. one that could be programmed to perform different tasks.
Since those early days, matchIT and the core fuzzy matching and parsing component, the matchIT matching engine, have evolved constantly and been completely replaced, involving many man-years of development effort by an extremely talented in house development team. This has resulted in helpIT’s current portfolio of batch and interactive data cleansing solutions and its reputation as “the deduplication experts”.