My three previous posts have examined Social MDM – the integration of social media data into master data management (MDM) – including its three biggest challenges (Identity, Relevancy, and Privacy),its perceived customer value proposition, and my last post highlighted some of the excellent commentary that this series has received.
In this post, I want to revisit a concept that I blogged about way back in March 2010 in my post on The Semantic Future of MDM. Organizations are spending a lot of time and money attempting to manage data they do not own – the data that describes YOU, which organizations claim ownership of on the basis that you are their customer. This is the fundamental flaw of Customer MDM – customers, who are the true owners of their own master data, are not allowed, by the companies they do business with, to establish ownership over their own master data.
And it’s not just your master data – it’s also your transaction data, which reveal a lot about you, not just as a consumer, but also as a patient and a voter. And it’s not just the companies you directly do business with that are part of this problem. In her New York Times article You for Sale: Mapping, and Sharing, the Consumer Genome, which focuses on the database marketing company Acxiom, Natasha Singer wrote about “the rapid expansion of an industry whose players often collect and sell sensitive financial and health information yet are nearly invisible to the public. In essence, it’s as if the ore of our data-driven lives were being mined, refined, and sold to the highest bidder, usually without our knowledge – by companies that most people rarely even know exist.”
In his InfoWorld article The next consumerization revolution: Your personal data, Galen Gruman stated “the truth is the product is you – all that data about you used to target ads and sales pitches. It’s hardly a new business model – it’s how trade publications have made their money for decades – but in the online world all that information is easily stolen, traded, and spread. Right now, users give away valuable information about themselves, but I fully expect to see services pop up that act as personal data brokers, giving users a cut of the money made from their personal information – the data users explicitly choose to share, not what is gathered about them sneakily. Again, this business model has long existed, but not in a way that allows individuals to participate in the proceeds.”
“As you can tell,” Gruman continued,”I don’t see the personal privacy issue the same way the advocacy groups do. The information is out there and will stay out there – the very act of digitization means the data is easily shared, manipulated, and used. That genie can’t return to the bottle as the privacy groups demand. Instead, I see the issue as a business proposition. If the data has value – and we know it does – its creators (you and me) should be paid for it. And if we take over the selling of our data, all those companies using it now have to respect us and abide by our standards. Currently, we’re a free resource to mine whether we like it or not.”
Is Social MDM going the Wrong Way?
Social MDM is about the integration of social media data into MDM implementations, especially social media’s treasure trove of customer data. But instead of trying to get social media data about customers into MDM, I think we need to get the existing data about customers out of MDM and into a personal data locker where customers can manage their own data, protect its privacy, and share it or sell it as they see fit.
Therefore, I believe that Social MDM is going the wrong way.
Now, of course, the real Single Version of the Truth is that too much money is being made by too many companies (both data management vendors and their clients) off of the perpetuation of the fundamental flaw of Customer MDM for such a seismic paradigm shift to occur anytime soon. The Status Quo will always Fight the Future. And so, for the foreseeable future at least, we will have to accept the sad fact that we will not be allowed to own our own data.
What Say You?
What are your opinions about the challenges and opportunities associated with Social MDM?
Please join the discussion by posting a comment below.