Psychographic Master Data Management

As told in the post Psychographic Data Quality marketers are moving from demographic marketing to psychographic marketing where a lot more data than before are used to getting the right message, to the right suspect at the right time. This affects the way we are working with data quality around customer master data and eventually how we do multi-domain master data management.

Using data for building psychographic profiles not only deals with lead generation. It’s usable throughout the whole customer master data life cycle by for example:

  • psychographic MDMFinding the best suspects at the right moment
  • Keeping the prospects on the optimal track coordinated with the prospects need
  • Ensuring a well received customer experience and facilitating up-sell and cross-sell.
  • Preventing churn
  • Making win-back possible

These opportunities apply to business-to-consumer (B2C) and business-to-business (B2B) as well.

Location master data management is essential in this quest as well, because we are not abandoning the basic demographic attributes in the physiographic world. We are building a deeper data universe on top of the traditional demographic (and firmographic) data. Having accurate location master data only helps here.

Mastering product master data is essential in the psychographic world too. This does not only apply to having your product hierarchies well manages for your own products, but will eventually also lead to a need for handling data on your competitors products and services in order to listen to social data streams.

Master Data Management (MDM) will extend to Social Master Data Management and must support wider exploitation of big data sources by being the hub for the psychographic customer profiles and the reference for descriptions of the product and service realm related to the psychographic attributes.

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Call me on Phone, Mobile or Skype

When calling people in order to have a long distance conversation there are three main ways today:

  • The landline phone, which have been around since the 19th century and penetrated most homes and businesses in the last century
  • The mobile phone, which came around in the 70’s and spread rapidly in the 90’s
  • Skype, a voice over internet service that grew in the 00’s

Using these services involves and identifier which may be stored in customer tables and other party master data repositories with some implications for data management and identity resolution:

TelephoneThe Landline Phone Number

The landline phone number is a very common attribute in databases around and is often used as the main identifier of a customer in ERP and CRM solutions around.

Using a landline phone number for identity resolution has some challenges, including:

  • As with most attributes they may change. Depending on the country in question they may change during relocation and most phone number systems gets and upgrade over the years.
  • In business-to-business (B2B) a company typically has more than one phone number.
  • In business-to-consumer (B2C) the landline phone number merely belongs to a household rather than a single individual. That may be good or not good depending on purpose of use.

The Mobile Phone Number

Mobile phone numbers also piles up in databases around. In relation to identity resolution there are issues with mobile phone numbers, namely:

  • They change a lot.
  • It’s not always clear to who a number actually belongs:
    • A company paid phone may be used for both business and pleasure and may be transferred to another individual
    • In a household a person may be registered for a range of mobile phones used by individual members of the household including children

The Skype ID

I seldom see databases with Skype ID’s. In my experience Skype ID aren’t used a lot in internal master data. They reside in Skype and social network profiles like for example LinkedIn.

A final rant

Today I hardly ever use a landline phone, I use my mobile once in a while and I use Skype a lot. Not because it’s convenient, but because the telecom companies has decided to charge international mobile calls in ways so greedy that it make Somali sea pirates look like honest business men.

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Names, Addresses and National Identification Numbers

When working with customer, or rather party, master data management and related data quality improvement and prevention for traditional offline and some online purposes, you will most often deal with names, addresses and national identification numbers.

While this may be tough enough for domestic data, doing this for international data is a daunting task.


In reality there should be no difference between dealing with domestic data and international data when it comes to names, as people in today’s globalized world move between countries and bring their names with them.

Traditionally the emphasize on data quality related to names has been on dealing with the most frequent issues be that heaps of nick names in the United States and other places, having a “van” in bulks of names in the Netherlands or having loads of surname like middle names in Denmark.

With company names there are some differences to be considered like the inclusion of legal forms in company names as told in the post Legal Forms from Hell.

UPU S42Addresses

Address formats varies between countries. That’s one thing.

The availability of public sources for address reference data varies too. These variations are related to for example:

  • Coverage: Is every part of the country included?
  • Depth: Is it street level, house number level or unit level?
  • Costs: Are reference data expensive or free of charge?

As told in the post Postal Code Musings the postal code system in a given country may be the key (or not) to how to deal with addresses and related data quality.

National Identification Numbers

The post called Business Entity Identifiers includes how countries have different implementations of either all-purpose national identification numbers or single-purpose national identification numbers for companies.

The same way there are different administrative practices for individuals, for example:

  • As I understand it is forbidden by constitution down under to have all-purpose identification numbers for individuals.
  • The United States Social Security Number (SSN) is often mentioned in articles about party data management. It’s an example of a single-purpose number in fact used for several purposes.
  • In Scandinavian countries all-purpose national identification numbers are in place as explained in the post Citizen ID within seconds.

Dealing with diversity

Managing party master data in the light of the above mentioned differences around the world isn’t simple. You need comprehensive data governance policies and business rules, you need elaborate data models and you need a quite well equipped toolbox regarding data quality prevention and exploiting external reference data.

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Data Management in the Cloud

We are seeing more and more data management services offered in the cloud.

dnblogo2As I have had a long time experience with data matching services around the Dun & Bradstreet WorldBase, it was good to see a presentation yesterday in Stockholm featuring D&B Europe’s new cloud based data manager service.

Managing World-Wide B2B Master Data

The D&B WorldBase is a business directory with 225 million business entities from all over the world.

D&B’s Data Manager is a self-service application in the cloud around the WorldBase taking care of:

  • Data matching with comprehensive functionality for manual inspection, approval and master data survivorship
  • Data enrichment embracing a wide range of data attributes
  • Data Maintenance subscription for keeping enriched data up to date

The data matching functionality is built on the good old D&B methodology with confidence codes and matchgrades.

Right for QlikTech

QlikTech is the Swedish firm (pretending to be American) behind the prominent business intelligence solution called QlikView.

At the Stockholm event QlikTech presented how and why they use the D&B Data Manager for ensuring the right data quality in their cloud based B2B CRM solution (

As QlikTech is operating all over the world having a consistent world-wide business directory as the reference for party master data is extremely important, and the self-service concept is a perfect match for having the right insight and control into achieving the needed level of data quality in CRM master data.

From there the QlikTech CRM team takes its own medicine using QlikView for self-service business intelligence.

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Is the Holiday Season called Christmas Time or Yuletide?

Johansen_Viggo_Radosne_Boże_NarodzenieIn English we have these two different terms for the coming holiday season: Christmas Time or yuletide. Christmas Time has a religious touch while yuletide is old English and resembles the term juletid still used in Scandinavia. Also notice that Christmas Time is two words (unless written as Christmastime) while yuletide is a compound word like common in Germanic language. And oh, Christmas Time must be written with upper case as first letters while yuletide doesn’t have to (unless maybe in a blog post title). I still struggle a lot with English grammar.

The holiday season may be seen as a religious celebration or, which I think has become prevailing, a special occasion for business. Yuletide is high activity in Business-to-Consumer (B2C) both for brick and mortar shops and for eCommerce, while Christmas Time is almost a stand still for Business-to-Business (B2B) as no one is able to make any decisions because it is the holiday season.

By the way: The only thing I wish for xmas is that people start to standardize on the terms used for the same concept. Not at least at Christmastide it is so disturbing when we don’t have any form of standardisation.

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Social MDM and Complex Sales

Social Master Data Management (Social MDM) is about linking the increasing trend of doing business via social media, using what we may call “systems of engagement”, with the traditional way of supporting business using what we call “systems of record”.

Doing social MDM is a natural consequence of adapting social CRM (Social Customer Relation Management). Many CRM solutions are supporting Business-to Business (B2B) activities helping with keeping track of what’s going on with a lot of contacts related to a business account within so called complex sales processes.

Traditional MDM in B2B environments has been much about a single view of the business account and the legal entity behind. As social CRM is much about the relations to the business contacts, the people side of business, we need a solid master data foundation behind the people being those contacts.

The same individual may in fact be an important influencer related to a range of business accounts being the legal entity with who you are aiming for a sales contract. You need a single view of that. So many sales contracts are based on a relation to a buyer moving from one business account to another. You need to be the winner in that game and the answer to that may very well be your ability to do better social MDM.

Social MDM adds a new external source of reference data to MDM solutions for B2B customer master data management. This new source is professional social network profiles where LinkedIn is the most known and used service around.

It is early days for social MDM solutions so it is quite exciting for me to work with designing the first kind of such solutions around the MDM edition of the instant Data Quality service.

Stay tuned for more news in this field on this blog in the times to come.

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Hierarchical Single Source of Truth

Most data quality and master data management gurus, experts and practitioners agree that achieving a “single source of truth” is a nice term, but is not what data quality and master data management is really about as expressed by Michele Goetz in the post Master Data Management Does Not Equal The Single Source Of Truth.

Even among those people, including me, who thinks emphasis on real world alignment could help getting better data and information quality opposite to focusing on fitness for multiple different purposes of use, there is acknowledgement around that there is a “digital distance” between real world aligned data and the real world as explained by Jim Harris in the post Plato’s Data. Also, different public available reference data sources that should reflect the real world for the same entity are often in disagreement.

When working with improvement of data quality in party master data, which is the most frequent and common master data domain with issues, you encounter the same issues over and over again, like:

  • Many organizations have a considerable overlap of real world entities who is a customer and a supplier at the same time. Expanding to other party roles this intersection is even bigger. This calls for a 360° Business Partner View.
  • Most organizations divide activities into business-to-business (B2B) and business-to-consumer (B2C). But the great majority of business’s are small companies where business and private is a mixed case as told in the post So, how about SOHO homes.
  • When doing B2C including membership administration in non-profit you often have a mix of single individuals and households in your core customer database as reported in the post Household Householding.
  • As examined in the post Happy Uniqueness there is a lot of good fit for purpose of use reasons why customer and other party master data entities are deliberately duplicated within different applications.
  • Lately doing social master data management (Social MDM) has emerged as the new leg in mastering data within multi-channel business. Embracing a wealth of digital identities will become yet a challenge in getting a single customer view and reaching for the impossible and not always desirable single source of truth.

A way of getting some kind of structure into this possible, and actually very common, mess is to strive for a hierarchical single source of truth where the concept of a golden record is implemented as a model with golden relations between real world aligned external reference data and internal fit for purpose of use master data.

Right now I’m having an exciting time doing just that as described in the post Doing MDM in the Cloud.

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instant Data Quality at Work

DONG Energy is one of the leading energy groups in Northern Europe with approximately 6,400 employees and EUR 7.6 billion in revenue in 2011.

The other day I sat down with Ole Andres, project manager at DONG Energy, and talked about how they have utilized a new tool called iDQ™ (instant Data Quality) in order to keep up with data quality around customer master data.

iDQ™ is basically a very advanced search engine capable of being integrated into business processes in order to get data quality for contact data right the first time and at the same time reduce the time needed for looking up and entering contact data.

Fit for multiple business processes

Customer master data is used within many different business processes. Dong Energy has successfully implemented iDQ™ within several business processes, namely:

  • Assigning new customers and ending old customers on installation addresses
  • Handling returned mail
  • Debt collection

Managing customer master data in the utility sector has many challenges as there are different kinds of addresses to manage such as installation addresses, billing addresses and correspondence addresses as well as different approaches to private customers and business customers including considering the grey zone between who is a private account and who is a business account.

New technology requires change management

Implementing new technology into a large organization doesn’t just go by itself. Old routines tend to stick around for a while. DONG Energy has put a lot of energy, so to say, into training the staff in reengineering business processes around customer master data on-boarding and maintenance including utilizing the capabilities of the iDQ™ tool.

Acceptance of new tools comes with building up trust in the benefits of doing things in a new way.

Benefits in upstream data quality 

A tool like iDQ™ helps a lot with safeguarding the quality of contact data where data is born and when something happens in the customer data lifecycle. A side effect, which is at least as important stresses Ole Andres, is that data collection is going much faster.

Right now DONG Energy is looking into further utilizing the rich variety of reference data sources that can be found in the iDQ™ framework.

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Business Entity Identifiers

The least cumbersome way of uniquely identifying a business partner being a company, government body or other form of organization is to use an externally provided number.

However, there are quite a lot of different numbers to choose from.

All-Purpose National Identification Numbers

In some counties, like in Scandinavia, the public sector assigns a unique number to every company to be used in every relation to the public sector and open to be used by the private sector as well for identification purposes.

As reported in the post Single Company View I worked with the early implementation of such a number in Denmark way back in time.

Single-Purpose National Identification Numbers

In most countries there are multiple systems of numbers for companies each with an original special purpose. Examples are registration numbers, VAT numbers and employer identification numbers.

My current UK company has both a registration number and a VAT number and very embarrassing for a data quality and master data geek these two numbers have different names and addresses attached.

Other Numbering Systems

The best known business entity numbering system around the world is probably the DUNS-number used by Dun & Bradstreet. As examined in the post Select Company_ID from External_Source Where Possible the use of DUNS-numbers and similar business directory id’s is a very common way of uniquely identifying business partners.

In the manufacturing and retail world legal entities may, as part of the Global Data Synchronization Network, be identified with a Global Location Number (GLN).

There has been a lot of talk in the financial sector lately around implementing yet a new numbering system for legal entities with an identifier usually abbreviated as LEI. Wikipedia has the details about a Legal Entity Identification for Financial Contracts.

These are only some of the most used numbering systems for business entities.

So, the trend doesn’t seem to be a single source of truth but multiple sources making up some kind of the truth.

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Return on Investment in Big Reference Data

Currently I’m working with a cloud based service where we are exploiting available data about addresses, business entities and consumers/citizens from all over the world.

The cost of such data varies a lot around the world.

In Denmark, where the product is born, the costs of such data are relatively low. The joys of the welfare state also apply to access to open public sector data as reported in the post The Value of Free Address Data. Also you are able to check the identity of an individual in the citizen hub. Doing it online on a green screen you will be charged (what resembles) 50 cent, but doing it with cloud service brokerage, like in iDQ™, it will only cost you 5 cent.

In the United Kingdom the prices for public sector data about addresses, business entities and citizens are still relatively high. The Royal Mail has a license tag on the PAF file even for government bodies. Ordnance Survey is given the rest of AddressBase free for the public sector, but there is a big tag for the rest of the society. The electoral roll has a price tag too even if the data quality isn’t considered for other uses than the intended immediate purpose of use as told in the post Inaccurately Accurate.

At the moment I’m looking into similar services for the United States and a lot of other countries. Generally speaking you can get your hands on most data for a price, and the prices have come down since I checked the last time. Also there is a tendency of lowering or abandoning the price for the most basic data as names and addresses and other identification data.

As poor data quality in contact data is a big cost for most enterprises around the world, the news of decreasing prices for big reference data is good news.

However, if you are doing business internationally it is a daunting task to keep up with where to find the best and most cost effective big reference data sources for contact data and not at least how to use the sources in business processes.

Wednesday the 25th July I’m giving a presentation, in the cloud, on how iDQ™ comes to the rescue. More information on DataQualityPro.

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