In the recent cycling sport paramount of the year ”Le Tour de France” one of the leading teams was “Team Saxo Bank”. The name should actually have been “Team Saxo Bank IT Factory”. But “IT Factory” is gone.
IT Factory was during the last years a comet in the Danish IT industry with fast increasing turnover and revenues verified by leading auditors. Only a few people led by a (now) known blogger asked about the customer base. 1st December 2008 it all blew up and it was revealed that 99% of the turnover was a fairy tale. More details on wiki.
If the auditors had spent 10 minutes (or so) on the Master Data besides looking at Transaction Data making the Financial Statements, the auditors would have found the mismatch between the customer base (and linked products) and the real world – and several banks and others would not have lost a lot of money.
Master Data Management is first of all a benefit to the organisation having these data. But as shown in the above example, it is like with financial statements also of interest to the surrounding world that the Master Data has a reasonable data quality and alignment with the real world. Often financial statements are followed by market and other assessments built on the Master Data of the organisation.
Without comparison with the IT Factory case I remember another case from Denmark this year where Telia, a leading Telco in the Nordics, in addition to the Financial Statement told that the they had 44.000 more customers in the database during the year. Asked how it was counted the answer revealed, that it actually was 44.000 more active SIM-cards. So the case was, that it could have been 1 new customer with 1 SIM-card and 43.999 existing customers having more SIM-cards. Link in Danish here.
We already know SOX and EuroSOX as compliance approaches with financial statements and Basel II also affects the data quality and real world alignment of Master Data in banking. My guess is that we will see more focus on the Data Quality and real world alignment of Master Data from outside the organisation adding to ongoing awareness on the subject already existing inside many organisations.