Cloud-first, native integration, seamless interoperability; these ideas all conjure up the notion of a smooth digital experience. And a platform never runs more smoothly than when highly structured, well-governed, expertly stewarded content is embedded in the workflows.
Natively embedded location information sourced in a data management platform is a topic we covered on Ask The Experts with Venki Subramanian, Senior Vice President of Product Management at master data management (MDM) platform provider Reltio.
“When I look at master data or core data as it is referred to in many organizations nowadays, it falls into a few different categories,” explained Venki. “It involves organizations, it involves individuals, it involves products, and it involves locations.”
Location data and address verification are crucial for any enterprise company that wants to succeed. In today's business environment, accurate data is essential for making informed decisions, reducing risks, and driving growth.
Venki recognizes that there are additional complexities and challenges that companies have to consider when they become a global business through a globally distributed organization. “How you describe an address in the United States may not be the same as the way you describe the location in another country like the United Kingdom, Germany or India. This creates complexities as understanding the local versions and representations of the data add an additional challenge to these businesses as they become global.”
When it comes to cross-border business, global enterprises have to contend with local data formats and region-specific regulations. For example, nuances on how to comply with the different data protection and privacy policies add further complexity. (For more on the challenges of address data in cross-border payments, see this interview with Rob Heidenreich, Vice President of Global Sales and Partnerships for Loqate)
Venki believes that with a focus on digital transformation, more companies are trying to ensure they have the most trusted version of “true data” on their customers, employees, products and locations in every relevant business process.
“If you look at what companies are trying to do, they are trying to deliver key business outcomes by driving more growth, ensuring higher operational efficiency, and ensuring that they are complying with different regulations and minimizing the risk associated with it.”
A customer calling into a contact center is a typical example. “That contact center agent needs the most accurate information about that customer, the products they have purchased, and where this customer is located at that point of interaction,” Venki said.
Although a call center use case might be a logistical, almost clerical example, Venki believes MDM can provide a distinct strategic advantage and should be part of the leadership conversation. “MDM is not something that happens in the back office, basement, or IT corners only. It is a conversation that needs to be had at the C-level because, ultimately, you're impacting the key outcomes for your shareholders, customers, employees and partners.”
Speed is clearly of the essence when it comes to modern data management. By having access to the most up-to-date and accurate information, companies can improve decision-making, enhance the customer experience, increase efficiency, ensure better data quality, and monitor and control operations in real time.
“The velocity at which this data was captured, curated, and consolidated used to be more attuned to analytical use cases,” said Venki, “so it was okay to take a day to find the best version and provide it to downstream systems. That is not a need anymore, and that transition is something that companies are still going through and struggling with.”
Ask The Experts co-host. Robert Dickson, Loqate’s Vice President of Professional Services, concurs, “our expectations, especially with the innovation of smartphones, are to see instantaneous results. I want to be able to enter something and then see it updated immediately.”
At Reltio, Venki has seen companies manage millions, sometimes hundreds of millions of customer data, often multiple types of master data. They are required to assemble this data and deliver it to points of consumption in the different systems in real time.
Since master data is the core data used throughout an organization, real-time access will allow companies to respond rapidly to changes in the market, customer needs, and internal operations.
According to Venki, Reltio, as the first cloud-native SaaS master data management product, has a focus on becoming the real-time data unification engine for any kind of master data. This need for speed is supported by the native integration of Loqate services into the Reltio data platform.
“Loqate was a seamless, very well-integrated solution right from the point of inception,” said Venki. “What makes our partnership unique is the combined ability to collect and unify any kind of data, which includes location as a key attribute, then enrich the data with the key capabilities that Loqate provides without involving any additional overhead from a customer perspective. In the end, the customers get the best quality location intelligence.”
Almost any company initiative you can think of ties to one or more key business outcomes of growth, efficiency, risk and compliance. What are the foundational data requirements for these initiatives, Venki wonders? “It comes down to having clean, consolidated master data. All companies are trying to collect data from disparate sources and unify the data along the key domains they care about. The fundamental nature of the problems is not really different.”
No matter the sector or use case, organizations of every size and shape still want a single, unified, trusted repository of their core data to power their business processes. “To get the best insights and make them actionable,” Venki concluded. One thing that will never change is that companies will always want the data they need to focus on the business of business.
Watch the full interview with Venki Subramanian on LoqateTV: Ask the Experts to learn more.