Sweden meets United States


Finding duplicate customers may be very different tasks depending on from which country you are and from which country the data origins.

Besides all the various character sets, naming traditions and address formats also the alternative possibilities with external reference data makes something easy – and then something very hard.

Most technology, descriptions and presented examples around are from the United States.

But say you are a Swedish company having Swedish persons in your database and among those these 2 rows (name, address, postal code and city):

  • Oluf Palme, Sveagatan 67, 10001 Stockholm
  • Oluf Palme, Savegatan 76, 10001 Stockholm

What you do is that you plug into the government provided citizen master data hub and ask for a match. The outcome can be:

  • The same citizen ID is returned because the person has relocated. It’s a duplicate.
  • Two different citizen ID’s is returned. It’s not a duplicate.
  • Either only one or no citizen ID is returned. Leave it or do fuzzy matching.

If you go for fuzzy matching then you better be good, because all the easy ones are handled and you are left with the ones where false positives and false negatives are most likely. Often you will only do fuzzy matching if you have phone numbers, email addresses or other data to support the match.

Another angle is that it is almost only Swedish companies who use this service with the government provided reference data – but everyone having Swedish data may use it upon an approval.

Data quality solutions with party master data is not only about fuzzy matching but also about integrating with external reference data exploiting all the various world wide possibilities and supporting the logic and logistics in doing that. Also we know that upstream prevention as close to the root as possible is better than downstream cleansing.

Deployment of such features as composable SOA components is described in a previous post here.

2 thoughts on “Sweden meets United States

  1. wesharp 6th August 2009 / 02:07

    Thanks for the post Henrik. As always it was very informative.
    It’s got the wheels spinning in my head. I do have a few questions:
    Does everyone in the country get a citiczen’s ID?
    How are these assigned?
    How are they distributed?
    What is the cost to implement this solution?
    When did Sweden begin the citizen ID program?

    I’ve been thinking about this type of reference data for quite a while.

  2. Henrik Liliendahl Sørensen 6th August 2009 / 05:24

    Hi William. Thanks for joining.

    Everyone who are born in Sweden or moves to Sweden gets a citizen ID (there have been some questions with asylum children).

    Currently the tax authorities assign it. The birth day is a major part of the number.

    Most government agencies and local authorities are plugged into the database, and as said it is also open to private entities through service providers. It is then not uncommon that you are asked about your citizen ID when buying on a web shop.

    The service providers have fees for a range of different services around this information.

    Unique Citizen ID’s were introduced in Sweden in 1947 and the current computerized model was implemented in 1967.

    A new improvement referenced as “Citizen ID in 60 seconds” is under implementation so newborns are assigned unique ID’s by healthcare staff very close to the root as one may put it.

    Denmark where I live (and Norway) has a similar model also introduced in the 60’s and in Denmark the instant assignment of citizen ID by healthcare staff to newborns have been around some years. But in Denmark and Norway the use of citizen ID is more restricted due to privacy considerations in the private sector.

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