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The 4C’s of Master Data - The Fundamental Elements of Commercial Relationships
4C’sOF MASTER DATA
The Foundational Elements of
Customer, vendor, partner and prospect are the
fundamental elements of commercial relationships. To
systematically manage those foundational entities they
need a common structure.
A simple approach to applying a standard structure begins
with what we refer to as the Four Cs: Code, Company,
Category and Country.
Market Development &
Strategy Leader, Master Data
Dun & Bradstreet
Every record in a database has a code – somewhere. Once a code is put
on a record – it “exists” in that database. I am coded therefore I am. You
need a code to make sure it is unique. But since every system has its own set
of codes you probably have more than one across your multiple workflows,
departments and regions. And if you can tie them together, that is your
shortest path to a single version of that relationship.
You need to know what an entity belongs to through a hierarchical structure
– a parent/child family tree. Hierarchy has multiple levels, from the local
branch, divisions, subsidiaries, all the way up to a global ultimate parent. Bill-
to, ship-to, plan-to, sell-to are all part of hierarchy. The bigger the company,
the more complicated the hierarchy. Are you selling to all the relevant
divisions or branches of given a family tree? Do you have a relationship with
it already? Is it related to something that increases your risk? Are there terms
you could apply because of the ownership that you wouldn’t have known
about? You can’t tell unless you have a full hierarchy.
You need to know what kind of thing you are dealing with, especially if you
don’t have much of a relationship with it yet. There’s a lot of granularity and
nuances to categories. Types and sub-types, channels and sub-channels,
genres and sub-genres. Categories define markets, enable segmentation,
and are the denominator for penetration analysis. Targeting is often based
on category attributes when you try to find likely prospects based on
industry, segment, sub-segment, etc.
Following along our alliteration with Cs, you also need country and some
form of geography. Where is this thing? Geography has hierarchy too –
state, county, metro area, province, city, postal code. Media market, sales
market, measurement market – there are many different configurations of
geography depending on your use case. But agreeing on a common
definition of market will clear up lots of confusion between sales, brand,
finance and operations when you simply ask– How am I doing in New York or
Major Metros or EMEA?
A code enables you to know a thing is unique. A company
lets you know who owns it. A category lets you know what
kind of thing it is. A country lets you know where it is. So if
you can consistently know where something is, what kind
of thing it is, who owns it and that it is truly unique and
leverage those definitions with your business stakeholders,
you can manage and scale your relationships across your
Visit dnb.com/masterdata to learn more about structuring a holistic view
of your commercial relationships.