When people consider MDM they think about Parties, Assets and Locations, the last sometimes called "places". So what is a Location? Well its probably worth delving down on this as there is one massive gap in most people's MDM approaches and its one that can cause significant issues.
So what is a location? Well a dictionary definition is "a point or extent in space" now to get all complex on this subject its always worth involving Albert Einstein on the topic
Since there exists in this four dimensional structure [space-time] no longer any sections which represent "now" objectively, the concepts of happening and becoming are indeed not completely suspended, but yet complicated. It appears therefore more natural to think of physical reality as a four dimensional existence, instead of, as hitherto, the evolution of a three dimensional existence.
Okay that is a bit OTT but the point is this
- Time is a key part of location
Why is this critical in MDM? Well looking at it from the two of the key business dimensions - Supply Centric and Customer centric there are very clear reasons why you should be considering time as important.
Firstly timezones. Lots of organisations operate globally and run call centre campaigns from places such as India. Its rather important that you don't wake a customer up at 3am and therefore you should be mastering timezones and their meaning. The good thing is that these are also, like country codes, mastered externally to your organisation so your mastering effort should be relatively simple, this should also cover the things like summer time switches so you can have single views of time at all points of the year.
Next off we have dates themselves, in Europe 5/12 is the 5th December while in the US its 12th May. Now this isn't normally a problem as we send the information in a structured form and its more of an integration challenge than a mastering challenge. However here are three other elements related to dates that need mastering
- Use by/Sell-by/store until/DOB/etc - classifications of dates
- Different Calendar types - Buddhist, Islamic, etc
- Boundaries - financial years, calendar years, business hours, etc
These are all important. You need to know when your suppliers can accept orders and still deliver the same day, you need to know when your customers are awake and when they are at work, you need to know when the end of financial year is for your suppliers (better discounts) and your customers and you need this all in a standardised way that enables things to be compared. There are many other examples of where time is just as important as the physical location and some occasions where its more important.
So Location isn't just lat/long its about mastering all four dimensions for your business. It certainly isn't the hardest type of thing to master but it is the easiest thing to forget.