Fundamentally, the goal of IT is to deliver accurate, complete and relevant information in a secure fashion to people and processes on demand. Information about the parties you do business with is a critical asset. As organizations grow over time both organically and through acquisition, data about customers is stored in many places in the enterprise. Each data store is defined differently, used by different business processes and updated by different business applications. The keys for and links between the data that describes customers get out of alignment with the characteristics of customers in the real world. Customers themselves change frequently, as do the business processes that manage customer information, the business logic in applications and the metadata associated with the data stores. The difference between people and legal entities in the real world and the information we have about them is called customer data disorder (CDD). When the condition is advanced, business performance suffers. This article explores the outward signs and symptoms of CDD and an approach you can use to understand the current state of business.


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