When calling people in order to have a long distance conversation there are three main ways today:
- The landline phone, which have been around since the 19th century and penetrated most homes and businesses in the last century
- The mobile phone, which came around in the 70’s and spread rapidly in the 90’s
- Skype, a voice over internet service that grew in the 00’s
Using these services involves and identifier which may be stored in customer tables and other party master data repositories with some implications for data management and identity resolution:
The landline phone number is a very common attribute in databases around and is often used as the main identifier of a customer in ERP and CRM solutions around.
Using a landline phone number for identity resolution has some challenges, including:
- As with most attributes they may change. Depending on the country in question they may change during relocation and most phone number systems gets and upgrade over the years.
- In business-to-business (B2B) a company typically has more than one phone number.
- In business-to-consumer (B2C) the landline phone number merely belongs to a household rather than a single individual. That may be good or not good depending on purpose of use.
The Mobile Phone Number
Mobile phone numbers also piles up in databases around. In relation to identity resolution there are issues with mobile phone numbers, namely:
- They change a lot.
- It’s not always clear to who a number actually belongs:
- A company paid phone may be used for both business and pleasure and may be transferred to another individual
- In a household a person may be registered for a range of mobile phones used by individual members of the household including children
The Skype ID
I seldom see databases with Skype ID’s. In my experience Skype ID aren’t used a lot in internal master data. They reside in Skype and social network profiles like for example LinkedIn.
A final rant
Today I hardly ever use a landline phone, I use my mobile once in a while and I use Skype a lot. Not because it’s convenient, but because the telecom companies has decided to charge international mobile calls in ways so greedy that it make Somali sea pirates look like honest business men.