Integrating Social Media Data into the Master Data Management (MDM) arena definitely presents great opportunities for enterprises. However, with the current state of play of MDM in most enterprises this also presents great risks. This is true for several reasons.
The first of these is that too many enterprises currently have an entity called ‘Customer’ listed as a Master Data Entity (MDE). The fact is that there is no such MDE as Customer. This is merely a Role (albeit a very important Role) played by the real MDE, which is Party.
Why does this matter? Because it completely stops an enterprise implementing one of the main aims of Social Media MDM and that is collecting not just the comments the ‘Customer’ makes on Social Media but also those of their friends and family. Where would the details of these individuals be held? In Customer? Would each friend and family member become a ‘special’ type of Customer?
Having the MDE of Party completely eliminates this problem. Each current ‘Customer’ would become a Party playing the Role of Customer. Each friend or family would also become a Party with a relationship of ‘Friend’, ‘Brother’, ‘Mother’, etc. to the Party who is playing the Role of Customer.
Without the MDE of Party replication is also major problem. People who are ‘Customers’ can also be ‘Suppliers’ and ‘Employees’. Jane Doe could appear in (at least) three different databases. This would mean replicating all of the comments of friends and family, etc. in each of these – it would be a business nightmare! Perhaps a dream for vendors of deduplication software?
However, the major reason why integrating Social Media into MDM is almost impossible at the moment, is that few enterprises know what the Unique Identifier of their ‘Customer’ actually is!! All you have to do is look at any enterprise that has separate MDEs of Customer, Supplier and Employee. In one they will say that the UID of Customer is Customer ID, in the other Supplier ID and the third Employee ID. One entity known by three different names and with three different unique identifiers!
With this internal confusion, do they really think that they can go out and trawl the SM universe, identify their ‘Customers’ and what they are saying out there and then correctly link to all of their comments and all of those of their family and friends? I think not!
In the past there used to be “Lies, Damn Lies and Statistics”. Now we have, “Lies, Damn Lies, Statistics, Social Media MDM and, yet to come, Big Data”.