With the risk of having the comment area on this blog filled up with SQL statements I will follow the track and tone from the last post called Create Table Homo_Sapiens.
In the last post some challenges around modelling people in databases was discussed with focus on uniqueness. Now we will have a look at the same challenges with companies – the other big part of party master data.
Companies often act in the same role as individual people in business processes – not at least in the role as a customer. Companies also behave as persons in a lot of ways like being born (establish), change name, relocate, marry (mergers and acquisitions), divorce (split) and decease (dissolve).
All over the world a lot of people spend the days entering and updating the data held on business partners in numerous databases. The world wide sum of B2B connections between a customer and a vendor each entering and maintaining the data about the other resembles (though less aggressive) the grains on a chessboard story:
- 2 companies both exchanging goodies makes 1+1 customers and 1+1 vendors = 4 rows
- 3 companies all exchanging goodies makes 2+2+2 customers and 2+2+2 vendors = 12 rows
- 4 companies all exchanging goodies makes 3+3+3+3 customers and 3+3+3+3 vendors = 24 rows
- 5 companies all exchanging goodies makes 4+4+4+4+4 customers and 4+4+4+4+4 vendors = 40 rows
- n companies all exchanging goodies makes n*(n-1) customers and n*(n-1) vendors = 2*n*(n-1) rows
Last time I checked the D&B WorldBase held more the 150 millions companies. Some are dissolved and fortunately? everyone doesn’t do business with everyone – but as said, the sum of B2B connections is huge and the work in entering and maintaining the master data seems overwhelming.
If we look at one single company and how it may be represented differently in databases around only taking basic data as name and address into account, there will be lots of variations. Even in the same table the same real world company often occupies several rows spelled differently.
One of the most effective methods for avoiding duplicates of company master data is plugging into a business directory. By using an external sourced company ID as a key in your master data you are able to hold a golden record of that real world entity. As a bonus you are offered updates and access to a lot of additional data you would never be able to collect yourself.