Managing relationships between entities is a very important part of Master Data Management (MDM) as told in the post Another Facet of MDM: Master Relationship Management.
There are relationships between entities within the single MDM domains and there are relationships between entities across multiple MDM domains.
Within customer (or rather party) MDM establishing the relationships between entities heavily increases the value of the data assets. Examples are:
- In B2B (Business-to-Business) environments knowing about company family trees supports both analytic and operational challenges. That knowledge is often provided by enriching data from third party data providers, but as most things in life there is no silver bullet available, as the real world is quite complex and in no way fully covered by any provider I know about.
- In B2C (Business-to-Consumer) environments knowing about how individuals are related in households is key to many analytic and operational issues too. Here having high quality location data is a necessity.
In today’s multi-channel world there is a rush for getting product entities enriched with a myriad of attributes to support customer self-service and thus as a minimum mimicking the knowledge of the traditional sales person in a brick and mortar store.
But we also need to mimic that sales persons knowledge about how products relates. That knowledge can be collected in different ways:
- From the manufacturer of the product. This source is often good when it comes to product relationship types as accessory and replacement (succession).
- From the customer. We know this approach from the online sales trick prompting us with the message “People who bought A also bought B”.
- From internal considerations. Facilitating up-sell can be done by enhancing product data with that kind of product relations.
Here we may have:
- Relations between party master entities and product master entities as told in the post Customer Product Matrix Management.
- Relations between party master entities and location master data as examined in the post Location, Location, Location.
- Relations between product master data and location master data as reported in the post Product Placement.