“Corporate WHAT???“ – What the Corporate Data League is all about


The start of the Corporate Data League

You might have read about the Corporate Data League already in one of our previous newsletters, or on Xing, LinkedIn, or Twitter, or heard about it in one of the CC CDQ Workshops. But did you really understand what the CDL is all about? Here is some basic information on the Corporate Data League …  First of all – we are not talking about a data LEAK, but a data LEAGUE, which is made up of companies that want to collaborate in data management and improve data quality in a joint effort. Sounds good? Well, then … keep on reading!

Everything started in 2009, with a couple of beers in the evening at a hotel bar in Stuttgart on the first day of a workshop of the Competence Center Corporate Data Quality (CC CDQ). Attendees: a few researchers from the CC CDQ – and data managers from Syngenta, Nestlé, and Bayer, who were complaining about the growing expectations regarding the quality of customer and vendor data, and the tremendous effort they had to undertake to keep address data and tax numbers consistent and up-to-date on a global scale. As the evening went on, the data managers realized that they were doing exactly the same tedious work on a daily basis regarding the management and maintenance of data referring to the same business partners. Their conclusion was striking: why not join forces?

The idea was very simple: collaboratively maintain a common pool of business partner data in order to reduce costs. What could this look like? For example: Instead of three companies investing time and money for updating address data of an IT supplier each of them is doing business with, the work needs to be done by one company only. Of course, this presupposes that the companies trust each other. So they specified some basic rules and established a kind of exclusive “club”, which they called “Corporate Data League” (abbreviated “CDL”). 

Current members and operation of the Corporate Data League

Today, the CDL has ten members (BASF, Bayer, Robert Bosch, Lanxess, Merck, Nestlé, Novartis, Sartorius, Siemens, and ZF Friedrichshafen). As every exclusive club, the CDL has certain guidelines and principles, which the members wrote down in their Community Charter. And, of course, the CDL has a board (called the CDL Steering Committee), which oversees that the rules of the Steering Committee Charter are followed.  

Meanwhile, all services of the CDL are managed by CDQ AG, which also operates the cloud service and maintains the extensive CDL Wiki. The CDL team at CDQ is permanently devoted to the development of new features and functions, as well as to the improvement of existing features and functions, in order to continuously extend the functionality of the CDL and make sure everything works smoothly.

The CDL in its present form is much more sophisticated than in its early days, when it basically was a data management collaboration platform. Today, the CDL offers a bundle of additional services to its members, like fraud protection or address curation, for example.

If you want to learn more about the CDL, you have the following options:

Data sources

The Corporate Data League (CDL) integrates data from highly heterogeneous sources. It thereby provides a golden set of high-quality business partner records.​

There are basically two types of data sources:​

  • CDL community data, i.e., business partner data the CDL members share with each other, and
  • third-party data, i.e., data from selected, trusted data sources that is matched and consolidated with community data (e.g., to enrich business register IDs or identify correct legal addresses or registered names).

Over the last few years, the number of business registers publishing data about legal entities has risen enormously. Companies House in the United Kingdom or SIREN in France are examples in Europe, alongside with a large number of business registers in the United States. In addition, initiatives like the Legal Entity Identifier (LEI) publish company data.​

The CDL provides a consolidated perspective on all this data. Each member’s data is automatically reconciled with all business registers connected. This means that CDL members do not have to bother about integrating all these different data sources. Instead of having over one hundred interfaces with external data sources, a single interface with the CDL will do.

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