Beyond Home Improvement

During my many years in customer master data quality improvement I have worked with a lot of clients having data from several countries. In almost every case the data has been prioritized in two pots:

  • Master Data referring to domestic customers
  • Master Data referring to foreign customers

Even though the enterprise defines itself as an international organization, the term domestic still in a lot of cases is easily assigned to the country where a headquarter is situated and where the organization was born.

Signs of this include:

  • Data formats are designed to fit domestic customers
  • Internal reference data are richer for domestic locations
  • External reference data services are limited to domestic customers

The high prioritizing of domestic data is of course natural for historical reasons, because domestic customers almost certainly are the largest group, and because the rules are common to most delegates in a data quality program.

If we accept the fact that improving data quality will be reflected in an improved bottom line, there is still a margin you may improve by not stopping when having optimal procedures for domestic data.

One way of dealing with this in an easy way is to apply general formats, services and rules that may work for data from all over the world, and this approach may in some cases be the best considering costs and benefits.

But I have no doubt that achieving the best data quality with customer master data is done by exploiting the specific opportunities that exist for each country / culture.

Examples are:

  • The completeness and depth for address (location) data available in each country is very different – so are the rules of the postal service’s operating there
  • Public sector company and citizen registration practice also differs why the quality of external reference data is different and so are the rules of access to the data.
  • Using local character sets, script systems, naming conventions and addressing formats besides (or instead of) what applies to that of the headquarter helps with data quality through real world alignment

My guess is that we will see services in cloud in the near future helping us making the global village also come true for master data quality.

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6 thoughts on “Beyond Home Improvement

  1. Home improvement 17th April 2010 / 01:00

    Cloud computing is now that everybody’s doing, and yes we need a home improvement to support this cloud.

  2. Henrik Liliendahl Sørensen 17th April 2010 / 09:09

    Thanks Home Improvement for the comment.

    I know I can only thank myself and my silly headlines for that either you or I are off topic.

    Btw: Fine blog about home improvement.

  3. 20th April 2010 / 09:19

    nice analisys. data is going larger and larger. we need home improvement to overcome it.

  4. Home Interior Decor 20th April 2010 / 17:12


    I really like your post on Beyond Home Improvement.

    I especially love how you state that high prioritizing of data is natural for historical reasons.

    I will definitely come back to see more of your postings.

  5. John Owens 11th May 2010 / 22:22

    Hi Henrik

    This is a perennial problem that has lingered for over 30 years to my knowledge. The solution is simpler than it seems. All that is required is proper data modelling using generic data structures PRIOR to building these systems.

    I have written an article on this at that you might find useful

  6. Henrik Liliendahl Sørensen 11th May 2010 / 22:36

    Thanks John, your article is indeed useful.

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