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Do you share your Master Data with your Partners?

The importance of maintaining accurate Master Data is vital to running the business efficiently. You have your Master Data under control at your end, but what about your partners, suppliers and award/reward programs? Are they ready for timely integration of Master Data? What is their commitment to your success?

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bates_HCLet me tell you my personal experience. My son is a fencer and I take him out of town for his competitions. So I was on the hook to take him to this event in Memphis. I searched for reasonable hotel deals in the Memphis area. We were fashionably late and all the nearby preferred hotels were sold out. I said to myself “No problem, I got this”. I logged into my credit card Rewards Program site and found a decent hotel only 5 miles away and to top it all, I could use my points and it cost me nothing. I am thinking “You can’t beat this, no need to use  cash!” I got the confirmation, 800 number, and the address. Ignoring my wife’s reminders for confirming the reservation (I got the reservation detail on my smart phone, why check the obvious?), we drove off. We reached around 9 PM to the hotel parking lot, yet there was no sign of the hotel I booked. I went around a couple of times to make sure it was not hiding in a side alley. Nope. I could see a different hotel but not the one I booked. No worries. I got the 800 number, called the agent, and she confirmed the information I had was correct. After talking to her for 30 minutes she connected me to the hotel agent. He went away for 30 min and came back and said their hotel property was now owned by another chain since December of last year. He offered to do little more research and give me a solution. Several minutes later he confirmed that the new chain will honor the reservation and he asked me to talk to the agent at the front desk of this new hotel chain. All was well and we checked in at 11:30.

Here is an example of Master Data change, which did not flow through to the partners. The Reward Program had only the old hotel name, phone number, and did not know that the hotel no longer exists. It also highlights the manual nature of the process. It took me and 2 agents from 2 different companies and 2 hours and 30 minutes to get to the bottom of the issue. Luckily the new chain did honor the reservation. Imagine the customer frustration if the hotel was full or denied them. The new chain accepted the reservation in good faith, not because they had my reservation in their system.

The issue could be on the Reward Program’s end in terms of not processing the changes in time or the Hotel Chain for not updating the information. Getting the correct Master Data timely is as important as getting it right. This is a classic  Business Requirement for timeliness of Master Data Management. It goes beyond integration delay and touches the business and customers directly.

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Shankar RamaNathan

Shankar RamaNathan is a Senior Enterprise Architect with 25+ years of experience in successfully developing and implementing IT strategy and Information Governance ( Master Data Management, Metadata Management, Data Quality and Data Governance) programs.

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