Many MDM initiatives center around customer data. A standard definition used in the industry is “Party” and “Party Domain” is a shared phrase used amongst MDM practitioners. Data model design around party domain is a critical area to address during MDM. In this blog, I share my observations and suggest best practices.

Party usually has two subtypes – person and organization. Person and organization parties have many characteristics in common:

  • They both have one or more names.
    • A person has an official name, nickname, alias and/or pseudonym.
    • An organization has a legal name, trade names and/or trademarks.
  • They have one or more internal or external identifiers.
    • Social Security Number (SSN) is a 10-digit identifier in the US for individuals.
    • Employer Identification Number (EIN) or Federal Tax Identification Number is used to identify a business entity. It can also be DUNS number supplied by Dun & Bradstreet
  • They usually have an associated location (shared among parties).
  • They have a communication method which can be a phone number, email address; Twitter handles and more.

One of the important factor to consider during an MDM tool selection process is the flexibility offered by the tool to support different ways in which we identify a Party. I have seen various names used to refer a Party in the data model. The usage depends on the industry and the use case. Ex: Customer versus Prospect in a marketing analytics use case.

I would like to list few variations I have seen while working with customers

  • Person: Customer, Patient, Doctor, Member, Citizen, Client, Person, Signer, Authorizer, Insured, Agent, Character, Prospect, Student, Contact, Guest, Staff, Licensee, Tenant, Lessee, Player, Counter Party, Employee, Employer, Job Candidate, Judge, Owner, Death Master
  • Organization: Wholesaler, Distributor, Dealer, Organization, Trading Partner, Law Firm, Vendor, Supplier

Data Model

MDMGeek’s Point of View:

MDM adoption is a huge challenge because it brings change to the way you manage your most critical data assets. It is important that we take these variations into consideration while implementing an MDM solution. You should look for a vendor tool that provides you the data model flexibility to define YOUR master data the way YOU call it – not how vendor suggests you to do.

You may have come across more ways Party is known. I love to hear your comments. Send me any feedback you have via comments. You can also reach me at @mdmgeek.

Also check out insights from @axeltroike, @hlsdk, @murnane and others in my Twitter community on the ideas related to data modeling.