One of the joys of working for OS is that you get asked to give authoritative answers to all sorts of geographic questions. ‘Classic’ questions such as how long is the coastline of Great Britain? often crop up. Which, if you read our recent blog on which English county has the longest coastline, you’ll know isn’t as easy to answer as you might think. Often, seemingly simple questions have no definitive solution. For me that doesn’t matter. The joy comes from thinking through the problem to come up with the best answer possible.
The coastline question reminded me of a problem I tried to tackle myself last year. Listening to a news story on the radio, it described “27 million households across the country”. Over the next 48 hours the story was repeated across a broad selection of media outlets and every time the same statistic came up. After mulling on this for a while I decided I didn’t like this number. It’s too imprecise. So, I decided to delve a little further and try and work out a more accurate number for myself.
In this two-part article, I want to show organisations how to go about creating a location data strategy. The business operations of many organisations revolve around location. Whether you are thinking about your supply chain, asset location or customer address, location affects everything.
In part one, I looked at how you could express your business objectives in terms of location and what questions you should ask to frame a strategy. In this second part, I move on to describe some of the practical steps you can take to move your strategy forward.
Decide how to join the location data back to your addresses
When I wrote about ‘Why you need an address master data management strategy’, I highlighted how organisations could gain better control of the address data they hold. There are many reasons why you would want to do this; better addresses can streamline operations, reduce errors and waste and even lead to new business opportunities.
For many organisations, their main activity is reliant on location, which is often expressed as an address. A delivery company needs to find an address to deliver goods; a mortgage lender wants to value the property found there; a utility company needs to deliver underground services there; an insurer wants to know the risks surrounding it. An address by itself cannot tell you any of this, but it can be used to unlock other location data.
Organisations who want to gain advantage by using location data should take a structured approach and start by creating a location data strategy. In this two-part article, I’ll explain the steps you need to take to get started.
A short while ago, my wife received two seemingly identical catalogues in the post from a well-known online fashion retailer. Both were addressed to our home, but the catalogues differed in two respects. Firstly, one was labelled using her maiden surname, whilst the other used her married surname. The second difference was more interesting. The first catalogue promised a 30% reduction on all merchandise – as a loyal customer reward. The second catalogue promised a 20% reduction. This told me two important things: (1) my wife clearly spends more with this retailer since we married; (2) the retailer in question has no Master Data Management (MDM) strategy for addresses.
MDM refers to everything an organisation does to manage the critical data of the organisation, the goal being to provide a single version of the truth. In this article, I’ll explore why MDM is necessary for addresses and how it can be implemented.