The same phenomenon is often seen in data management as told in the post Foreign Affaires.
If we for example work with postal addresses we tend to think that postal addresses in our own country has a well-known structure while foreign addresses is a total mess.
In Denmark where I am born and raised and has worked most of my life we have two ways of expressing an address:
- The envelope way where there are a certain range of possibilities especially on how to spell a street name and how to write the exact unit within a high rise building, though there is a structure more or less known to native people.
- The code way, as every street has a code too and there is a defined structure for units (known as the KVHX code). This code is used by the public sector as well as in private sectors as financial services and utility companies and this helps tremendously with data quality.
But around 3.5 percent of Danes, including yours truly, has a foreign address. And until now the way of registering and storing those addresses in the public sector and elsewhere has been totally random.
This is going to change. The public authorities has, with a little help from yours truly, made the first standard and governance principles for foreign addresses as seen in this document (in Danish).
At iDQ A/S we have simultaneously developed Master Data Management (MDM) services that helps utility companies, financial services and other industries in getting foreign addresses right as well.