If you are working with customer data management you will know that this doesn’t mean that 500,000,000 distinct individuals are using Facebook. Like any customer table the Facebook member table will suffer from a number of different data quality issues like:
- Some individuals are signed up more than once using different profiles.
- Some profiles are not an individual person, but a company or other form of establishment.
- Some individuals who created a profile are not among us anymore.
Nevertheless the Facebook member table is a formidable collection of external reference data representing the real world objects that many companies are trying to master when doing business-2- consumer activities.
For those companies who are doing business-2-business activities a similar representation of real world objects will be the +70,000,000 profiles on LinkedIn plus profiles in other social business networks around the world which may act as external reference data for the business contacts in the master data hubs, CRM systems and so on.
Customer Master Data sources will expand to embrace:
- Traditional data entry from field work like a sales representative entering prospect and customer master data as part of Sales Force Automation.
- Data feed and data integration with traditional external reference data like using a business directory. Such integration will increasingly take place in the cloud and the trend of governments releasing public sector data will add tremendously to this activity.
- Self registration by prospects and customers via webforms.
- Social media master data captured during social CRM and probably harvested in more and more structured ways as a new wave of exploiting external reference data.
Doing “Social Master Data Management” will become an integrated part of customer master data management offering both opportunities for approaching a “single version of the truth” and some challenges in doing so.
Of course privacy is a big issue. Norms vary between countries, so do the legal rules. Norms vary between individuals and by the individuals as a private person and a business contact. Norms vary between industries and from company to company.
But the fact that 500,000,000 profiles has been created on Facebook in a very few years by people from all over world shows that people are willing to share and that much information can be collected in the cloud. However no one wants to be spammed by sharing and indeed there have been some controversies around how data in Facebook is handled.
Anyway I have no doubt that we will see less data entering clerks entering the same information in each company’s separate customer tables and that we increasingly will share our own master data attributes in the cloud.