When High Quality Data doesn’t Yield High Quality Service

Better data quality is a prerequisite of better quality of service but unfortunately high quality data doesn’t necessarily lead to high quality service when the data flow is broken. This happened to me last night.

ubicabs2When landing in London Heathrow Airport I usually, economically as I am, use the train to reach my doorstep. However, when I have to catch an early morning flight I order a cab, which actually has a very reasonable price. So yesterday I decided to book a cab in order to cut 30 to 40 minutes of the journey home on the expense of a minor amount of extra pounds.

Excellent data capture

Usually I just call the cab, but as I arrived by airplane and my local cab service is part of an online booking service, I used that service for the first time. The user interface is excellent. There is rapid addressing for entering the pick-up place which quickly presented me the possible terminals at Heathrow. The destination was just a smooth. As the pick-up is an airport they prompted me for the flight number. Very nice as that makes tracking delays possible for them and also you can check that the airline and terminal is a correct match.

Also they have an app that I geekly downloaded to my phablet.

Going down

Landing times at Heathrow are difficult to predict as it often happens that your flight has a couple of circles over London before landing due to heavy traffic. Yesterday was good though as we came directly down and therefore were ahead of schedule.

ubicabsSo it was OK that my name wasn’t at the signs held by drivers already waiting at the passenger exit. Actually I was so early that I could have reached the not so frequent direct train home. But as I now already had troubled the driver to go there I of course waited while spending time on the app.

There actually also was a driver tracking on the app. Marvelous. At first glance it seemed the driver was there. But then I noticed a message saying driver tracking wasn’t available and therefore the spot in the terminal 3 building would be my own position or requested pick-up place.

Going crazy

5 minutes after requested time the driver called:

“Where are you Mr. Sorensen?”

“I’m at the passenger exit where all drivers are waiting.”

“OK. I’m just parking the car. Go to the front of the coffee shop and I’ll be there in a few minutes.”

I spotted a coffee shop in front of the lifts to the short stay parking and went over there.

10 minutes later the driver called:

“Where are you Mr. Sorensen?”

“I am in front of the coffee shop”

“Costa Coffee?”

“No. It has a different name…”. After some ping-pong I mentioned terminal 3.

“Terminal 3?” the driver responded. “I’m at terminal 5. I was told to go here. I’ll be with you in 5 minutes”.

Going by car in 5 minutes I wondered. That would indicate crossing the runways or using the train tunnel.

Well, while spending more happy time on the phablet the clock approached the point where I would be at my doorstep using the slow train.

40 minutes after requested time the driver arrived. I was waiting for the mandatory sorry that Brits use even when they are not sorry at all.

Instead the driver greeted me with: “Did you order the cab yourself Mr. Sorensen?”

“Yes I did. On the internet.”

“Internet?” the driver replied.

“Your company has an excellent online booking system” I friendly remarked.

“When I called you first I asked for confirmation about where you were”.

As I realized that he was trying to establish that everything was my fault I presented the confirmation on the app.

ubicabs3We continued (without the usual smalltalk) to the destination. Here the driver (instead of a discount) presented an upgraded version of the price on the booking confirmation.

At that point it was too difficult to keep calm and carry on…..

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Our Double Trouble

Royal Coat of Arms of DenmarkUsing the royal we is usually only for majestic people, but as a person with a being in two countries at the same time, I do sometimes feel that I am we.

So, this morning we once again found our way to London Heathrow Airport for one of our many trips between London and Copenhagen as we have lived in the United Kingdom the last couple of years but still have many business and private ties with The Kingdom of Denmark where we (is that was or were?) born, raised and worked and from where we still hold a passport.

Most public sector and private sector business processes and master data management implementations simply don’t cope with the fast evolving globalization. Reflecting on this, flying over Doggerland, we memorize situations where:

  • We as a prospect or customer in a global brand are stored as a duplicate record for each country as told in the post Hello Leading MDM Vendor.
  • You as an employee in a multi-national firm have a duplicate record for each country you have worked in.

People moving between countries are still treated as an exception not covered by adequate business rules and data capture procedures. Most things are sorted out eventually, but it always takes a whole lot of more trouble compared to if you just are born, raised and stays in the same country.

When we landed in Copenhagen this morning we (is that was or were?) able to use the new local smart travel card in order to travel on with public transit. But it wasn’t easy getting the card we remember. With a foreign address you can’t apply online. So we had to queue up at the Central Station, fill in a form and explain that you don’t have an official document with your address in the UK – and we avoided explaining the shocking fact that in the UK your electricity bill is your premier proof of almost anything related to your identity.

What about you? Do you have a being in several countries? Any war stories experienced related to your going back and forth?

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Hear ye, hear ye, hear ye


A certain birth in London the other day was widely visualized by the announcement by a royal crier in front of St. Mary’s Hospital.

However, as reported by International Business Times here, the crier in fact just crashed the party, as he wasn’t invited by any Royal party. But the cries and included facts were true right enough.

So, this time everything was OK. But in general it’s amazing how we confuse great visualization and trustworthiness.

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In the future, data quality will be more social

Every time I walk in and out of a plane at London-Gatwick Airport I always nod at an advert from the HSBC bank saying that in the future, selling will be more social:

Selling will be more social

A natural consequence of this will also be that data quality improvement (and master data management) will be more social.

One example is how complex sales, being sales processes typically in business-to-business (B2B) environments, will be heavily depended on integrating the exploitation of professional social networks as discussed on the DataQualityPro interview about the benefits of Social MDM.

Traditional Master Data Management (MDM) and related data quality improvement in B2B environments has been a lot about a single view of the business account and the legal entity behind. As Social Customer Relation Management (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 and embrace the data quality issues related to that.

Social selling of course also relates to business-to-consumer (B2C) activities and in doing that we will see new data quality issues. When exploiting social networks, both in B2B and B2C activities you need to link the traditional attributes as name and address with new attributes in the online and social world as explained in the post Multi-Channel Data Matching.

Besides exploiting social networks we will also see social collaboration as a mean to improve data quality. Social collaboration will go beyond collaboration within a single company and extend to the ecosystems of manufacturers, distributors, resellers and end users. A good example of this is the social collaboration platform called Actualog, which is about sharing product master data and thereby improving product data quality.

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Data Quality Luxury

I am a bit of a map addict. So when figuring out a visit to London City today I tuned in on Google Maps. When zooming in I got this map:

Louis Vuitton

The pink establishment in the lower middle is the Royal Exchange, which today is filled up by luxury shops. First guess is that Google Maps has overlaid the map with positions from a business directory where Paul Smith was placed inside the building but Louis Vuitton due to a precision issue was placed outside in front of the building.

But there may be other explanations.

As the list of shops in the Royal Exchange shows here, there apparently isn’t a Louis Vuitton shop there.

So maybe Google Maps is timely real world aligned and Louis Vuitton was kicked out of the building (for being too cheap?) and now only has a booth on the steps in front of the building?

Of course, being a data quality geek, yours truly made a real world alignment check.

My report:

  • There’s no booth with bags (fake or real) in front of the building.
  • Paul Smith is exactly on the position within the building as shown on the map.
  • There’s no Louis Vuitton shop in the building.
  • There’s a Louis Vuitton shop, with only one bag with no price tag per window (so it must be real), in the next building behind the Royal Exchange.


It’s a precision issue with business directory positions on a map, where one is randomly spot on and the other isn’t. You can’t expect data quality luxury.

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Double Trouble with Social MDM and Big Data

Yesterday was the first day at the MDM Summit Europe 2013 in London.

One of the workshops I attended was called Master Data Governance for Cloud/Social MDM/Big Data. The workshop was lead by Malcolm Chisholm, one of my favorite thought leaders within data management.

According to Malcolm Chisholm, and I totally agree with that, the rise of social networks and big data will have a tremendous impact on future MDM (Master Data Management) architecture. We are not going to see that these new opportunities and challenges will replace the old way of doing MDM. Integration of social data and other big data will add new elements to the existing component landscape around MDM solutions.

Like it or not, things are going to be more complicated than before.

We will have some different technologies and methodologies handling the old systems of record and the new systems of engagement at the same time, for example relational databases (as we know it today) for master data and columnar databases for big data.

Profiling results from analysis of big data will be added to the current identity resolution centric master data elements handled in current master data solutions. Furthermore, there will be new interfaces for social collaboration around master data maintenance on top of the current interfaces.

So, the question is if taking on the double trouble is worth it. Doing nothing, in this case sticking to small data, is always a popular option. But will the organizations choosing that path exist in the next decade? – or will they be outsmarted by newcomers?

MDM Summit Europe 2013

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Why You shouldn’t go to the MDM Summit Europe 2013

The weather in London has been awful this March. The forecast for the first week of April doesn’t meet historical standards either. The MDM Summit Europe 2013 will be in London 15th to 17th April. You shouldn’t go there because of the weather based on the trend in the weather forecast:

London Forecast April 2013

On the other hand, it could heat up indoor.

There are quite a lot of exciting sessions, including the ones about:

And hey, it has happened before that the weather has suddenly improved.

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Data Quality Technology for Marketing

TFMAAlso this year I visited the Technology for Marketing and Advertising event in London in order to take part in as many prize drawings as possible. And oh, also to catch up on new developments in applying data quality to marketing.

Translation Management and Social Intelligence

SDL has the slogan: Because Business is Global. I like it. Besides doing translation management SDL also excels in social intelligence. As discussed with the SDL representative on the booth a core competency in doing this is to link social data with master data entities, a subject I touched yesterday on Informatica Perspectives in the post called Social MDM and Future Competitive Analysis.

A proof of that it is a small world is that Informatica is a SDL reference customer for localization as told here.

Utilizing Location Data

Entergate, a survey tool specialist, focused on a new tool called pointSurvey. It’s so new I can’t find any links on their website. The concept is embedding maps into surveys that relate to location data. Using the tool respondents may point out places of interest or draw out routes.

Surely this is a better way to catch locations than typing in postal addresses.

eMail Verification

BriteVerify says on their site:

“At BriteVerify, we take verification seriously – in fact, making sure that you receive the most accurate information possible is pretty much the only thing that matters to us. Well, that and pancakes. Mmmmm… pancakes.”

Somehow I missed the pancakes. But the eMail verification presented by BriteVerify was good.

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Is Managing Master Data a Differentiating Capability?

If you are a Master Data Management (MDM) fanatic seeing the MDM solution as the centre of the universe and you plan to attend the MDM Summit Europe 2013 then you might as well start to work on your consistency in booing and your accuracy in throwing rotten tomatoes.

In the session called Multi-Entity MDM for the Enterprise Bert Hooyman will shock you by telling that managing master data is not considered a differentiating capability at Royal Philips Electronics.

The solution at Philips is based on the information factory idea and built upon data warehouse technology. Master data and transactional data are treated equally.

saving bulb MDMWhere others may struggle with Multi-Entity / Multidomain MDM the path chosen by Philips already serves multiple business cases for combining party master data and product master data.

I guess the term “a Philips light bulb moment” could have been used too much, so let me just say that I look forward to be enlightened on how to do MDM in an energy saving way.

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The Data Governance Jigsaw Puzzle

Picture this: You find yourself taking over a challenging Data Governance initiative part way through and the path to complete the implementation is far from clear.

Most learning and best practices for data governance implementation, and a lot of other implementations of whatever, are based on doing the stuff from start to end. But in fact many people are thrown into the journey somewhere along the route without any own history on how the journey began, no clear understanding on why the actual direction was taken and no clue about where the end of the rainbow is supposed to be.

If this isn’t hard enough the good people organizing the Data Governance Conference Europe 2013 (co-located with the MDM Summit) has put the session from Nicola Askham on this tough challenge almost at end of the program. Check it out here.

Last Friday I met Nicola for an after work drink at a secret place in the City of London and I can assure you that Nicola despite all odds is fit for fight and ready to kick y… well, putting the puzzle together.


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