The ”buy vs. build” option is well known within many disciplines not at least around your IT application stack. The trend here is that where you in the old times did a lot of in-house programming today you tend to buy more and more stuff to prevent reinventing wheel. Yesterday there was a post on that on Informatica Perspectives. The post is called Stop The Hand-Coding Madness!.
We certainly also see that trend when it comes to Master Data Management (MDM) solutions. And my guess is that we will see that trend too when it comes to the master data itself.
What has puzzled me over the years is how a lot of organizations spend time on and makes their personal errors when they type in the name, address and other core data about individuals and companies they do business with or alternatively letting us business partners type in our name, address and other data again and again – sometimes with a little remembering help from Google.
With product data you see that the same data is retyped again and again with heaps of errors and shortcuts from when the description and specifications is registered at the manufacturer, then again at a couple of wholesalers, at a lot of retailers and for some product types as for example spare parts in heaps of end user organizations.
In order to avoid this madness there are some different ways in which master data can be shared between organizations:
Using commercial third party data
Using third party directories is a well known way of buying your master data.
Business directories have been used for ages. The Dun&Bradstreet WorldBase is probably the most widely known example, but there are plenty of alternatives when it comes to specific regions and countries out there. Where it earlier was common to use these sources for downstream data enrichment we now see more services for picking the id, names, addresses and other data in the data entry process.
Address directories are becoming very useful for example in using rapid addressing which saves time and ensures data quality for addresses when they are entered.
Digging into open government data
In many countries the public company registry is available as a raw business directory and in some countries there are also possibilities with citizen data. Public sector is often the root source for address data, which is getting more available around and even in some cases with relating property data as told in post Making Data Quality Gangnam Style.
As it often isn’t in the genes of public sector bodies to provide nice and easy ways of getting to these data, there are good opportunities for private enterprises to add that service on top of the open government data.
Having your own data locker
Instead of having business men controlling your data or trusting the government to do so the idea of a personal controlled data locker has gained interest. In the UK there is such a service called Mydex.
Relying on social collaboration
Most people and companies too are doing a good job in maintaining their profile data on social networks. So this is in many cases the place to go to find out where someone is and is doing right now.
Social collaboration is also a possible way to share product data between manufacturers, wholesalers, retailers and end users. There is a service for that called Actualog.