Foreign Affairs

There is a famous poster called The New Yorker. This poster perfectly illustrates the centricity we often have about the town, region or country we live in.

The same phenomenon is often seen in data management.

I mentioned United States centricity as a minor criticism in my recent book review about the excellent book “Master Data Management and Data Governance”.  

An example from the book is this statement:

“It is important to differentiate between U.S. domestic addresses and international addresses. This distinction is important for U.S.-centric MDM solutions because U.S. domestic addresses are normally better defined and therefore can be processed in a more automatic fashion, while international addresses require more manual intervention.”

The same fact could be expressed by saying:

“It is important to differentiate between Danish domestic addresses and international addresses. This distinction is important for Danish-centric MDM solutions because Danish domestic addresses are normally better defined and therefore can be processed in a more automatic fashion, while international addresses require more manual intervention.”

Only, the better formatted address in the first case is the messy address in the last case, and the better formatted address in the last case is the messy address in the first case.

If your MDM scope is country-centric it is sensible to concentrate on automation related to that country.

If your MDM scope is international there are two options:

  • The easy way: The one size fits all option. This is a moderate investment, but also, it only yields moderate results in terms of automation and data quality.
  • The hard way: You have to implement specialized automation and investigate best external reference data for each country. I made a Danish-centric post on that last year here.

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2 thoughts on “Foreign Affairs

  1. Lawrence Dubov 12th March 2011 / 19:53

    Henrik,

    Thank you for the favorable book reviews. I would like to make a few comments here.

    1. Alex and I are practitioners and the overwhelming majority of our implementations occurred in the US, Canada (including Quebec), UK and Australia.

    2. MDM in North America overall is in a more advanced stage than elsewhere. (I am not big on political correctness)

    3. It was important for us to articulate specific facts that can be generalized and used by a reader. This is exactly what you did by replacing “US” with “Danish”. I hope you realize that you couldn’t replace “US” with an arbitrary country because many countries are lacking address standards and/or lacking country specific address data providers.

    4. Note that in Chapter 2 we discuss some international challenges of MDM with examples from Russia, Ukrain, and Easter Europe, Spain, Italy, Thailand, and Korea. I believe it is a good spectrum illustrating international differences and challenges. I look forward to learn Denmark specifics as they apply to MDM.

    Why don’t we initiate a discussion specifically on a variety of international issues (languages and how they impact matching algorithms, 3rd party country specific sources, country/geography specific cultural and legislative issues that impact MDM, etc). I would look forward to it.

    Regards,
    Larry

  2. Henrik Liliendahl Sørensen 13th March 2011 / 07:59

    Larry, thanks a lot for commenting here. Your points are taken.

    Many technology trends are indeed spread from the United States to the rest of the world. If I look at some of the MDM implementations I have been involved in during the last years in Scandinavia it is symptomatic that only one out of several implementations included a MDM product. I know it’s not that that you can’t do MDM without a MDM product (or that technology is the most significant aspect in MDM), but I think we will see maturity in that field here as well.

    One indicator of increasing interest in MDM outside North America and the English language part of the world I have noticed is in a new group I started on LinkedIn called Multi-Domain MDM, where we got a lot of French people joining.

    International issues around MDM and data matching is a favorite subject of mine – and if I may continue advertising for LinkedIn groups I have started, the Data Matching group already has a lot of discussions on that.

    Looking forward to take the subject further with you Larry, here, on LinkedIn or perhaps on the excellent blog by IBM Initiate called Mastering Data Management .

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