The most frequent data domain addressed in data quality improvement and master data management is parties.
Some of the issues related to parties that keeps on creating difficulties are:
- Party roles
- International diversity
- Real world alignment
Party data management is often coined as customer data management or customer data integration (CDI).
Indeed, customers are the lifeblood of any enterprise – also if we refer to those who benefit from our services as citizens, patients, clients or whatever term in use in different industries.
But the full information chain within any organization also includes many other party roles as explained in the post 360° Business Partner View. Some parties are suppliers, channel partners and employees. Some parties play more than one role at the same time.
The classic question “what is a customer?” is of course important to be answered in your master data management and data quality journey. But in my eyes there is lot of things to be solved in party data management that don’t need to wait for the answer to that question which anyway won’t be as simple as cutting the Gordian Knot as said in the post Where is the Business.
As discussed in the post The Tower of Babel more and more organizations are met with multi-cultural issues in data quality improvement within party data management.
Whether and when an organization has to deal with international issues is of course dependent on whether and in what degree that organization is domestic or active internationally. Even though in some countries like Switzerland and Belgium having several official languages the multi-cultural topic is mandatory. Typically in large countries companies grows big before looking abroad while in smaller countries, like my home country Denmark, even many fairly small companies must address international issues with data quality.
However, as Karen Lopez recently pondered in the post Data Quality in The Wild, Some Where …, actually everyone, even in the United States, has some international data somewhere looking very strange if not addressed properly.
Real world alignment
I often say that real world alignment, sometimes as opposed to the common definition of data quality as being fit for purpose, is the short cut to getting data quality right related to party master data.
It is however not a straight forward short cut. There are multiple challenges connected with getting your business-to-business (B2B) records aligned with the real world as discussed in the post Single Company View. When it comes to business-to-consumer (B2C) or government-to-citizen (G2C) I think the dear people who sometimes comments on this blog did a fine job on balancing mutating tables and intelligent design in the post Create Table Homo_Sapiens.