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How to solve CRM data deduplication dilemmas

David Taber | Oct. 2, 2013
Unlike other enterprise software systems, the biggest data quality issue that CRM systems face is duplicates. Dedupe incorrectly, though, and bad data poltergeists and doppelgangers will come back to haunt you.

High-Risk Data Will Cause the Most Dedupe Headaches

Typically, high-risk records have more things pointing to them. If that record disappears, there are more orphaned references. In most CRM systems, the account is by definition the highest-risk table - and several outside systems likely point to its records. You may determine that accounts really can't be merged. Then what?

Most CRM systems have a concept of a parent account. That can be the basis of a solution strategy for accounts that can't be merged. The duplicate accounts all become children of a new master account, which acts as a "holding company" of sorts for roll-ups.

No doubt about it, duplicate records in CRM systems are the most popular form of data corruption. Unfortunately, data deduplication isn't an event. It's a process. Even if you get them all out of the system now, there's going to be a software or process change that will cause a new pattern of duplicates to be created. Since it will be easier to clean them up if there's only one error pattern, a thorough duplicate detection cycle will be needed on a monthly basis.

 

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