One of the most intriguing sides of data quality and Master Data Management (MDM) is, in my eyes, how you can extend a national solution to an international solution.
Many implementations starts with a national scope and we also see many tools and services built for a national scope. Success on a national scale does unfortunately not always guarantee success on an international scale.
Besides all the important stuff around different culture challenges and how to drive change management in an international environment, there are also some things about the master data itself that are challenging.
- Location Master Data is probably the most obvious domain where we face issues when going international. Postal addresses are formatted differently around the world. Approximately half of the world puts the house number in front of the street name, approximately half of the world puts the house number after the street name and then in some places you don’t use house numbers on a street, but in blocks. City and postal code has the same issue. The worst solutions here tries to put the rest of the world into the first implemented national solution as told in the post Nationally International.
- Party Master Data, also when looking beyond postal addresses, must encompass many national constraints and opportunities, not at least when it comes to exploiting third party data:
- Utilizing business directories is one common way. Here you have to balance the use of many different best of breed national providers or taking it from a more harmonized provider of an international directory. Where I (also) work right now, we have chosen the latter solution as reported in the post Using a Business Entity Identifier from Day One.
- If you, as I am, are coming from Scandinavia you are also amazed by the difficulties around the world there are in healthcare, elections and other areas when there is no public available national identifier for citizens as examined in the post Counting Citizens.
- Product Master Data does in many ways look the same across countries. However, standards for product data often still are specific to a single or a specific range of countries. Also, if the national implementation was not in a country with multiple languages and the international scope includes more languages, you must encompass multilingual capacities for product information management.
What have you experienced when going from national to international?