The story began when I signed up to a typical landline + ADSL for my home-office with one of the major ISP’s in Australia. There were some teething issues before my service was up and running. The normal process was to connect the land-line first followed by the internet connection. The landline connection process was a bit of a bumpy road as they initially connected a line which had so much noise I couldn’t get a stable internet connection out of it, and it took a few days until they rectified the problem, little known to me that they in fact internally raised a new order to their land-line technical team and I got a brand new number. And this is where the problem started. For some time I had two separate open contracts with the company for the land-line, the former presumably cancelled but in reality open in their billing system.
After a while I noticed that I’m being charged twice each month in two different dates. I called the internet provider company and after spending about an hour with the patient customer service rep on the phone we figured out there is a disconnect between their billing system and their CRM. In the CRM I had only one account active whereas in the billing system I had two active accounts.
This is a classic example of poor master data management with no single source of truth, in this instance “customer account”. Should the company managed their master data properly my unused account would’ve been cancelled in the billing system as soon as it was cancelled in the CRM.
Master Data Management (MDM) is an important yet overlooked piece in organisation’s IT ecosystem. The bigger the organisation, the more pivotal and complex the MDM becomes.
Here’s a good article on MDM: https://msdn.microsoft.com/en-us/library/bb190163.aspx