A Team Effort

A Team Effort

True partnerships are often formed off the books

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When government agencies and vendors partner with one another, friendly, clear communication and mutual respect are key to creating dependable results and fostering collaboration. Sometimes, partnerships go above and beyond in unexpected ways. The relationship between the Minnesota Department of Driver Services (DVS) and Tessera Data is an example of this.

Tessera Data provides people-risk data that simplifies background checks by promising quick and efficient access to criminal, court and motor vehicle records. “Offering an instant criminal database that covers 98% of the U.S. population, real-time automated screening solutions and continuous monitoring, Tessera extracts the essential details from critical background data for better informed people-risk decisions that help keep communities safe,” says Brenda Maiers, compliance specialist at Tessera Data.

Tessera, when pulling driver records, noticed mismatches in data, where numbers from certain tables were influencing numbers in unrelated tables. They notified the DVS of what they saw. Part of what makes this significant is that Tessera is not a company hired specifically to sift through and report data errors. They called out the error they saw as a matter of courtesy, based on the positive relationship between the DVS and Tessera. The DVS responded with enthusiasm and addressed the mismatch.

“It’s a complicated table referencing setup,” says Pong Xiong, director the Driver and Vehicle Services Division. “It’s way more technical than that, but basically some data was pointing to the wrong table. And so, we’d get inconsistent results. Because we tested these tables separately, we never noticed that the two different methodologies were producing different results.”

Reporting the data anomaly was met with appreciation on the DVS side. Additionally, the DVS’ willingness to jump in and address the issue made a positive impression on the people at Tessera.

Xiong valued the knowledge Tessera shared. “We take the security and the quality of our data very seriously,” he says. “And we appreciate the partnership with Tessera in identifying a gap for us. We took immediate steps to make those corrections and we are happy with the partnership with those who are willing to give us feedback and to work with us as we make adjustments.”

Anna Renken, staff product manager at Tessera, says that when they uncovered the discrepancies, they worked with DVS to make sure the agency understood the problem. DVS would make changes, and Tessera would take a look at the changes. “It’s a lot of back and forth,” Renken says. “But willingness to go through that process so that both parties could ensure things were being done well is something I really appreciated. It was a ‘let’s learn together and improve together’ type of relationship that we’ve been able to build through this process, which shows the credibility that we now have in the way that they operate, and the people that are behind the scenes, and the way that they want to do it better.”

Maiers adds, “We work with 51 jurisdictions and they’re not always super open to being told, ‘Hey, your data doesn’t work right, but we were able to reach out to DVS, and they worked with us.” The willingness of Tessera to share what they observed, and of the DVS to openly address the problem, has led to a mutual appreciation that both parties hope will continue.


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