In earlier blogs, I have stated that I needed to clean up my archives. Well, I did. Well, I am still doing it. OK, I’m not there yet. But anything that definitely could be discarded is gone. Out. Shredded. Deleted. Wiped from the surface of the earth and, more importantly, from my house.
So, now I am down to one cabinet which holds papers that may prove to still need to remain available. Where possible, I will scan them.
I have already isolated a set of papers that have to do with several life and pension insurances. I made an attempt to organise them by policy.
I’ll say that again.
I made and ATTEMPT to organise them by policy.
The big companies seem to think that you only have one policy with them. I don’t know how else to explain the following:
At one company, I have many policies. I did not have that many originally, but mergers of companies and forced split of policies due to new tax laws do tend to create an administrative mess.
I have 5 letters explaining exactly and in great details what a certain policy is for. When and how I am entitled to draw money from them (or not because I have to die first before they start paying out), and which tax-boxes they apply to. Great information. Almost perfect one would say. There are just two pieces of information missing: the policy number and financial information such as premium etc.. Well, 4-10 pages of information and just this information missing. Lets not get nitpicking.
On the other hand, I have about 7 UPOs with lots of information about premium, estimated amounts, dates, what-if scenario’s AND a policy number. But no information on what the policy is about. The UPO is the Uniform Pensioen Overzicht, which translates to Uniform Pension Overview, a mandatory form which companies such as insurers and pension funds have to provide since a couple of years. The uniformity should enable the consumers to properly assess their situation.
But in spite of having all the information, I just cannot match it together. And that is where standards like the UPO fails. They look at one aspect but forget the other aspects, such as making sure the UPO also contains proper information on how that particular policy ‘works’.
Close, but no cigar.
Another example: I have a hobby: model trains. Yes, I know: big child. But I’ll have you know that the trains and tracks are fully managed by a self-written .net application and each engine has its own microprocessor.
OK, so I’m also a super Nerd.
Anyway, my favourite manufacturer decided two years ago to renumber his whole stock. Each product got a new number. So what? Well, I happen to have a database with all rolling stock, including its product number. This primarily to prevent me buying things I already have. With the roll-out of the new numbering system, however, that doesn’t work anymore. According to the new product numbers, I have nothing. And the manufacturer does not provide a ‘this-is-now-that’ list.
Close, but no cigar.
This kind of renumbering not only plays havoc with the customers of companies (lots of customers may have product items of suppliers in their ordering systems), but they also do that internally. When sight is lost over the ‘was’ situation, it becomes impossible to link it to the ‘is’. What if your customer wants to complain, or just ask, about a product he bought 4 years ago (warranty still applies): will you still be able to understand which product it applies to?
I hope you can.
This is also important for any MDM initiative: do not just look at your “now” situation. Make sure your precious information on clients, products, services can also be linked back to your “was” situation.
How difficult it is to provide simple and complete information, may be illustrated by the included picture.
Close, but again… no cigar. View image
(betaald=paid; oud saldo=old balance; nieuw saldo=new balance)