One thing that I've noticed about myself given the fact that my career is in the database area... is that I have very little tolerance for bad data. I would take a stab and guess that most of you have a story that you could share about how frustrating it is to work with some companies in respect to the data that they have on YOU!
My story involved trying to change the name on my utility bills.... I've been told that I must pay first $60, have the original account closed, a new one opened with the name changed, and then the eventual fall out of owing even more money as other people were dependent on the original account number. After several encounters I found myself screaming that they should pay ME for helping clean their data!
Anyway, this is a long way to encourage you to read the new blog by the authors of the book: Enterprise Master Data Management: An SOA Approach to Managing Core Information.
If you read the first blog entry, you'll see many examples similar to mine of the difficulties to correct bad data. Add your own story! If you read the book, you'll see examples, big and small of this kind of problem, but better yet, you'll get real advice as to how data and systems should be organized so your customers aren't blogging about how difficult it is to work with you!
Once again, the new blog is: www.ibm.com/developerworks/blogs/page/mdmbook and it will have entries from all 6 authors: Allen Dreibelbis, Eberhard Hechler, Ivan Milman, Martin Oberhofer, Paul van Run, and Dan Wolfson.