What are the Benefits of Social MDM: Guest Interview with Henrik Sørensen

What is Social MDM and how can it benefit your business? Henrik Sørensen shines light on this emerging discipline.

What is Social MDM and how can it benefit your business? Henrik Sørensen shines light on this emerging discipline.

What are the Benefits of Social MDM?

Guest Interview with Henrik Sørensen

Transient

Henrik blogs at www.liliendahl.com, tweets on @hlsdk, is BDM for InstantDQ.com and lives in Doggerland.

Social MDM is a term that has been growing in popularity recently thanks in no small part through the efforts of Henrik Sørensen, a leading blogger, trainer, practitioner and entreprenuer within the world of data quality and MDM.

I recently caught up with Henrik to find out more about Social MDM and more importantly what benefits it offers.


Tip: We also featured Henrik talking about some of the concepts behind Social MDM in his recent tech briefing for iDQ, the big data mashup solution for integrating internal and external reference data: find out more.


Dylan Jones: Thanks for taking time out today Henrik, let’s start at the basics - what is Social MDM - is there a common definition that you use?

Henrik Sørensen: Social MDM is about how exploiting social data and social collaboration may be supported by Master Data Management programs.

In Master Data Management (MDM) we have traditionally aimed at identifying and describing the who, what and where in systems of record. Now we also have to embrace the who, what and where in the new systems of engagement and making a link between these two worlds. In that sense MDM will be an extremely important feature for avoiding that the old systems of record and the new systems of engagement becomes two silos in business processing.

We often see Social MDM being a part of broader terms as big data and MDM in the cloud and indeed social data is, along with sensor data, the most frequent sort of big data and social collaboration are almost always taking place in the cloud.  

Dylan Jones: Where are you seeing Social MDM being adopted, what type of business scenarios are becoming common?

Henrik Sørensen: Businesses are getting more and more mature about how to exploit the dramatic growing social sphere, but it is still very early days for most businesses to be at the point where MDM becomes part of the plans.

Social CRM has been a well established term for some years. With traditional CRM it took a while before the shortcomings of not having a solid master data management element became clear for most people and this scenario will probably also repeat itself with social CRM.

Most of the talk until now has been around business-to-consumer (B2C) and how to dig into namely Facebook, the most successful social network in the world measured by absolute numbers of profiles. The business cases revolve around following your customers footprint in the digital world in order to make sentiment analysis and network analysis.

There are also great opportunities for using social data in a more a structured way in business-to-business (B2B) activities.

Many CRM systems are build to support complex sales processes and today using a professional social network as LinkedIn, Xing or Viadeo is an important part of informal business processes but are yet to become a part of the formal data flows and data structures in most places. Those who are able to adapt social data, based on social master data, in complex sales processes will have a huge competitive advantage in the future.

Besides customer master data and other party master data there are also social aspects of managing product master data. Incorporating product reviews on your own websites as part of product master data has been there for a while. Today product master data and related rich media are shared more or less and in many different ways in the ecosystems of manufacturers, distributors, resellers and end users. Streamlining these processes through social collaboration within an organization and between organizations may yield huge cost savings and accelerate data quality for product master data. 

Dylan Jones: Can you walk through a typical example in more detail so we can understand the processes, technologies and benefits involved?

Henrik Sørensen: My favorite business case is around complex sales processes. Probably also because I have personally been involved in complex sales processes during my career and have adapted informal business processes around using social networks in complex sales processes the recent years.

While sales transactions in business-to-business (B2B) formally happens between legal entities the sales processes happens betweens business people having some kind of role related to these legal entities.

In the good old days the sales force people had their personal golden rolodex. These rolodexes was digitized in the CRM revolution and shared along with other contact master data within the organization. However maintaining the master data for the legal entities was hard enough, doing that for business contacts has proved to be very cumbersome, also because external reference sources have been very sparse with questionable data quality.

External reference data has also been focused around decision makers which of course are important people. But the sales processes involves a lot of other people and not rarely people outside the buying entity being consultants and advisers of other kind. Add to that that the days where people stick to a given job for a life time are counted. Rotation in the business contact world is huge these days.

Today social network profiles are the best source of information about who is who and who is where doing what. Many people involved in complex sales processes have discovered that and are using this source within informal sales processes. This in a way undermines the CRM systems or makes it cumbersome to keep the CRM systems updated.

Only if we are able to automate complex sales processes by utilizing data in social network profiles are we able to harvest the promises of sales force automation and the wider benefits of social CRM.

Dylan Jones: I totally agree. I was checking out 3 companies recently as possible sponsors for future events here on Data Quality Pro and I found that conventional, commercial sources of data on directors in these companies was totally inaccurate, at least 12 months out of date. I went on LinkedIn and found the current directors in seconds.

So there are clear benefits for B2B marketing what about privacy concerns, particularly for B2C? Obviously a lot of MDM initiatives as you say are designed for smarter marketing so do you think we’ll see a backlash from consumers as our personal social media data starts to be included in the marketing engine?

Henrik Sørensen: Automating integration of B2B contact master data and social network profiles as mentioned before has it’s privacy concerns. There are questions around who owns your social network: You or your employer? Privacy settings in different social networks naturally make limitations around what you can do and what you should do.

These privacy settings and norms are even more apparent in B2C operations where we will see the big battles and great controversies arise when smart marketers meet sensitive consumers backed up by regulators.

We also see the world-wide diversity shining through here recently exemplified by the clash between Facebook’s real name policy enforcement and the German data protection laws.

Dylan Jones: What about data quality in social MDM? For example, you obviously keep your social accounts updated but a lot of people have dormant accounts that quickly get out of date - how can we ensure completeness and accuracy in social MDM?

Henrik Sørensen: Social MDM is not a silver bullet for finally getting master data quality right and achieving a single source of truth.

With regards to business contact data there are indeed some very good opportunities for doing it better than we have been able to do until now as mentioned related to supporting complex sales processes.

But above all else Social MDM is a means to deal with increasing complexity in the real world that MDM platforms have to reflect and at the same time exploit the possibilities created by big data without having small data quality issues growing into big data quality disasters.

Dylan Jones: Do you think the wholesale adoption of initiatives like Mydex are critical to moving Social MDM forward? What are the missing pieces from the landscape right now?

Henrik Sørensen: The landscape is definitely building up from different directions. “The customer strikes back” in some ways where we have Vendor Relationship Management (VRM) as an opposite to Customer Relationship Management (CRM) and we have a service as Mydex opposed to how Facebook and others handles our personal data.

As master data management and data quality practitioners we must understand the political and anthropological mechanisms in the social sphere and be able to balance those with business requirements. That is not going to be easy.

Social MDM is a kind of a goldmine in a minefield.

Dylan Jones: Thank you as ever for some great insights on an emerging field.

For those who want to learn more on this topic check out Henriks blog at: http://liliendahl.com/


Contributions by Henrik Sørensen:

Expert Journal
What are the Benefits of Social MDM: Guest Interview with Henrik Sørensen

Social MDM is a term that has been growing in popularity recently thanks in no small part through the efforts of Henrik Sørensen, a leading blogger, trainer, practitioner and entreprenuer within the world of data quality and MDM.

I recently caught up with Henrik to find out more about Social MDM and more importantly what benefits it offers.

7 Simple, Low Cost Ways to Improve Data Quality in Data Entry

One of the single biggest causes of data defects in any organisation is poor quality information entered at the start of the information chain via data entry interfaces.

This article provides some simple, practical and cheap techniques to dramatically improve the data quality of human entered information.

Thanks to Henrik Sørensen for contributing to this feature.