The idea of a Universal ID

It is the dream of the data architect that there is a ubiquitous and universal ID that stitches its way through all different systems. There is no denying that this would help with our current data qualms but it is not “the” answer.

Let’s start with the obvious statement - “I wish we thought of this earlier”. The problem we see at most companies is that the idea of a universal ID only surfaced recently. This means that there is no easy way to go back in history and rectify the records with a new universal ID. The second is that not all systems that you will use will support this. The third is a principal that I have learnt from the engineering industry and that is “separation of concerns” i.e. make sure one part of the system is responsible for one thing and one thing only. Many could argue we have already broken this e.g. CRM systems will allow you to manage leads, customers, documents. Marketing and more. This is not so much the problem, but rather that the CRM should stay being the CRM and we should not put any business specific objects that would span into other systems. In engineering, we would have another system that composes the data from many services into a coherent structure. If this sounds familiar in the data world, it is, this is exactly what a Data Hub solves.

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