Cross Border Master Data Management

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.

Google EarthMany 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?

8 thoughts on “Cross Border Master Data Management

  1. Savita Modak 29th December 2016 / 17:44

    Your views are well founded. Coming from India and as a data quality practitioner, the challenges in this domain are huge because of the variations and variances in a dress data. Absence of depending data and updated public domain data is the cause of much pain when it comes to standardizing data for creating Masters. However, it’s easier to work on organized data once the tools have been trained after working on the more difficult data.

    • Henrik Liliendahl 30th December 2016 / 09:08

      Thanks a lot for commenting Savita. As developing data matching and address validation services is one of my long time running competencies, I know exactly what you mean by training the software on a challenging obstacle course.

  2. Jack Brosch 6th January 2017 / 17:17

    Speaking of standards, I believe your links are in green – the US Standard is blue …. GREAT article !!!

    • Henrik Liliendahl 6th January 2017 / 21:49

      Thanks Jack. Yes, the wordpress theme I use seems to make links in green in some browsers / on some devices. Have been planning to shift to a theme that doesn’t. Thanks a lot for pointing out.

  3. Prateek 12th January 2017 / 18:43

    Is there a feasible solution to this issue? I don’t think Addresses would ever be standardized globally.

    • Henrik Liliendahl 12th January 2017 / 19:41

      I agree Parteek. We will not see global standards on addresses, industry sector codes, product information and other master data related data standard issues. “The solution” is to embrace diversity in the solutions we offer to manage master data.

  4. Debbie Wilson 8th March 2017 / 10:45

    Are you aware of the various spatial data infrastructure activities that are ongoing to address location Master Data Management. Within Europe the INsPIRE Directive includes addresses and cadastre as well as a lot of environmental data themes to resolve cross border location MDM pain points.

    • Henrik Liliendahl 8th March 2017 / 10:53

      Thanks a lot for adding in Debbie. Yes, I came across INsPIRE when I worked with the Danish authorities on an approach to handle foreign addresses for example assigned to Danish citizens living abroad and owning properties abroad. It is good to see that the possibilities for this is growing in maturity.

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