Are These Familiar Hierarchies in Your MDM / DQM / PIM Solution?

The term family is used in different contexts within Master Data Management (MDM), Data Quality Management (DQM) and Product Information Management (PIM) when working with hierarchy management and entity resolution.

Here are three frequent examples:

Consumer / citizen family

Family consumer citizenWhen handling party master data about consumers / citizens we can deal with the basic definition of a family, being a group consisting of two parents and their children living together as a unit.

This is used when the business scenario does not only target each individual person but also a household with a shared economy. When identifying a household, a common parameter is that the persons live on the same postal address (at the same time) while observing constellations as:

  • Nuclear families consisting of a female and a male adult (and their children)
  • Rainbow families where the gender is not an issue
  • Extended families consisting of more than two generations
  • Persons who happen to live on the same postal address

There are multicultural aspects of these constellations including the different family name constructions around the world and the various frequency and acceptance of rainbow families as well of frequency of extended families.

Company family tree

When handling party master data about companies / organizations a valuable information is how the companies / organizations are related most commonly pictured as a company family tree with mothers and sisters. This can in theory be in infinite levels. The basic levels are:

  • A global ultimate mother being the company that ultimately owns (fully or partly) a range of companies in several countries.
  • A national ultimate mother being the company that owns (fully or partly) a range of companies in a given country.
  • A legal entity being the basic registered company within a country having some form of a business entity identifier.
  • A branch owned by a legal entity and operating from a given postal / visiting address.

Family companyYou can build your own company tree describing your customers, suppliers and other business partners. Alternatively or supplementary, you can rely on third party business directories. It is here worth noticing that a national source will only go to the ultimate national mother level while a global source can include the global ultimate mother and thus form larger families.

Having a company family view in your master data repository is a valuable information asset within credit risk, supply risk, discount opportunities, cross-selling and more.

Product family

The term “product family” is often used to define a level in a homegrown product classification / product grouping scheme. It is used to define a level that can have levels above and levels below with other terms as “product line”, “product category”, “product class”, “product group”, “product type” and more.

Family productSometimes it is also used as a term to define a product with a family of variants below, where variants are the same product produced and kept in stock in different colours, sizes and more.

Read more about Stock Keeping Units (SKUs), product variants, product identification and product classification in the post Five Product Information Management Core Aspects.

2 thoughts on “Are These Familiar Hierarchies in Your MDM / DQM / PIM Solution?

  1. Gino Fortunato 7th November 2019 / 16:18

    great thoughts as always. My experience has been that the definition of ‘household’ has varied greatly from organization to organization depending on how the organization wants to interact. As you point out, the rainbow family has become more obvious over the years. My experience has been that persons living at the same postal address (i.e. roommates) has also become more prevalent. While this has always been true in University communities, it is seen more in cities where housing prices have made this a way of life. Becoming able to discern the difference between the roommates and other types of households has become trickier in the US as fewer women change their name when marriage happens and marriage itself becomes less frequent. Of course this has been true in many European countries for a long time. These changes have made house holding more important but more difficult to do correctly. Coming up with a definition fit for purpose will be key to being successful with efforts to know the ‘customer’

    • Henrik Gabs Liliendahl 7th November 2019 / 20:21

      Thanks Gino. I know doing householding is very difficult. 15 years ago I spent a lot of time configuration a matching engine in producing a hierarchy of individual persons and households based on a telephone directory with names and addresses supported by an address / property directory and in some degree also a citizen directory.

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