Collaboration approach

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Managed element
Last edit 20 May 2019 16:25:42
Support contact 
A member of the CDL Team who is responsible for a specific element of the CDL infrastructure.
Simon Schlosser

Business partner data management is heavily redundant: Many companies manage data for the same entities such as country names and codes, bill-to, ship-to, and ordering addresses, or legal hierarchies of customers and suppliers. The CDL collaboration approach is based on a trusted network of user companies that share and collaborativelay maintain this data.

Scope and business partner definition of the collaboration approach

Business Partner

  • §1 A business partner
    • is a legal entity with which a CDL member has or potentially could have a contractual relationship regarding the exchange of digital/physical goods or services (i.e. business partner of type legal entity)
    • an entity which has characteristics defined by the CDL community (see §2) that make it valuable to treat it separately from the legal entity (i.e. business partner of type organizational unit)

Business Partner: Organizational unit

  • §2 The CDL defines the following entities as organizational units
    • Establishments of a legal entity that are uniquely registered in an official business/company register of a country
      • France: Establishments (etablissement) that are assigned a unique SIRET number are treated as organizational units
      • Belgium: Establishments (vestigingseenheid) that are assigned a unique branch number
      • Switzerland: Establishments (Zweigniederlassung) that are assigned a Swiss UID
      • [Further definitions of organizational units will be added here in future and are subject of acceptance by the CDL Steering Committee]


Organizational unit example.png

Specific locations of a legal entity are in some countries officially registered, e.g. so called permanent establishments (German: Betriebsstätte) or branches. These locations usually have a unique identifier, e.g. in France the SIRET number (composed of the SIREN that uniquely identifies the legal entity + additional digits). Such registered locations (and initially only these) will be managed as organizational units of a legal entity in the case of France (see §2).

The registered address of the organizational unit is typified as REGISTERED ADDRESS a special case of the type LEGAL ADDRESS. An organizational unit is linked to a legal entity and is treated itself like a business partner of type legal entity. This means there are e.g. collaborative reviews on updates for an organizational unit

Data scope

The CDL data model defines the data which is collaboratively shared and maintained in the CDL's shared data pool. The model is subject of continuous discussion and extension by the CDL Steering Committee. The table below provides an overview on the main concepts:

 Has description
AddressAn address provides information about the physical location of a business partner. It can be specialized in a certain context: e.g. delivery address or invoice address.
Administrative areaA top-level geographical or political area division in a country.
LocalityA locality is a named densely populated area (a place) such as town, village, suburb, etc. A locality composes of many individual addresses. Many localities exist in an administrative area. A locality can also have several levels of sub localities.
Post codeA country specific code for a certain address component or an combination of address components, e.g. locality.
PremiseA premise is a tract of land including its buildings. A premise may have several sub-levels to precisely identify e.g. a address/premise/type/room in a address/premise/type/building.
CountryA country is a geopolitical area that is a nation. Each country has an abbreviation code defined by the International Standardization Organization (ISO) in the ISO standard 3166. Up-to-date country names and codes are available in this wiki.
Geographic coordinatesGeographic coordinates identify uniquely a location on the Earth. In the Corporate Data League context, geographic coordinates identify addresses.
IdentifierIdentifies a business partner in a given context uniquely. For example, a VAT identification number may identify a business partner uniquely in a national (or larger) context.
Identifying nameA identifying name assigned to an address. In most cases the identifying name refers to the name of a registered agent.
NameThe business partner name identifies a business partner. There are different types of names.
Opening hours
Partner profile
Postal delivery pointA single mailbox or other place at which postal mail is delivered.
StatusDescribes the status of a business partner with respect to its level of activity (e.g. out of business) or legally relevant conditions (e.g. in liquidation)
ThoroughfareDetails of the access route along which buildings, lots, or land are located, such as street, road, channel, crescent, avenue, etc. This also includes canals or banks on which houses or boat houses are located where people live.

General rules

Not all business partners managed at a CDL user company is applicable for sharing within the CDL. There are certain prerequisites that have to be met:

  • There are transactions with the partner. This means the corresponding record was used in a business process.
  • The business partner is active. Records that are no longer in use at a user company are to be excluded. Typically, records become inactive when the business partner is out of business, has changed/renamed, or there are internal reasons like that the record is a duplicate.
  • No one time vendors.
  • No special security class. I.e. records that comprise anonymized names or that are per se incomplete due to security reasons .
  • The business partner is not marked for deletion or flagged as duplicate.
  • No natural persons. No employee data or any other natural person data (e.g. consumers) is shared in the CDL. The CDL ensures this additionally by technical measures (see e.g. the CDL natural person identification service). Please refer also to the CDL data privacy policy, where it is also defined that sole proprietors and partnerships are not per se excluded.
  • At least one address is provided. If there is just one address it has to be then necessarily the legal address, i.e. an address which is officially registered with the business partner
  • All addresses can be shared. Any other address of a business partner can and should be shared with the CDL (also pure ship-to or bill-to addresses)

SAP users

SAP distinguishes partner functions and business partner roles. Depending on the SAP release of the CDL member the business partner is the leading concept whereas in older releases customers and vendors were explicitly distinguished and managed as silos.

Business partner roles are used to categorize a business parter from a business point of view. Different roles may be assigned to a business partner which reflect the business context in which a partner is involved. Thereby, based on the partner role different partner functions are assigned to the business partner such as Sold-to-party or Bill-to-Party.

Mapping the SAP business partner to the CDL data model.

Non SAP users

Setting up the collaboration

Data exchange

CDL company data repositories

Regular file based data exchange

Regular (workflow) integrated data exchange

Ramp up process

Proposed initial scope

1 Analyze, clean and prepare data

2 Decide on which records to share

3 Reconcile data with the CDL database (initial self reviews)

Collaboration duties

Commmunity charter

The Corporate Data League (CDL). The collaboration approach of the CDL follows the guidelines and principles of the Community Charter and is governed by the CDL Steering Committee following the rules of the Steering Committee Charter.


The CDL implements a peer-to-steward pattern for validating data provided by CDL members. This means updates are provided by CDL members and exactly one CDL member is selected to review the changes. The decision for a collaborative review approach was taken in order to increase trust: Trust usually evolves over time, when the participants build a sense of community and know that they can rely on the data that is provided by others. Trust in data requires a high level of data quality. Misuse of the service by an organization sharing data of poor quality or not adhering to the defined procedures could shake the other community members’ confidence in the service. Therefore, the decision was made to implement a strict governance regime, which includes this kind of organizational validation of each update by exactly one responsible data steward. To evenly distribute workload, the data steward is randomly selected from the set of subscribers.

Collaborative review approach

In order to increase the trustworthiness of the data, the CDL implemented two data validation approaches: Automated/Technical data review and organizational data review by a CDL member. The organizational data validation (peer to steward pattern) is implemented by the CDL's collaborative review approach. In short this means that updates of specific information (more details below) require an additional validation step by another CDL member.

Please find more information about collaborative reviews and the approach here

Collaboration dashboard

The success and performance of the collaborative effort is continuously measured, communicated and visualized by a number of Key Performance Indicators.

 Measurement definition
Automatic updatesThe KPI is constructed out of: Number of records that were automatically updated and share of records that were automatically updated from the total number of updates
Completed reviewsThe KPI is constructed out of: Number of reviews performed by all CDL members and the number of reviews performed by the particular CDL member
Deleted reviewsThe KPI is constructed out of: Number of reviews deleted for all CDL members and the number of reviews deleted for a particular CDL member
Fraud casesThe KPI is constructed out of two values: Overall number of documented fraud cases shared by all CDL members and the number of documented AND disclosed fraud cases shared by all CDL members.
Open reviewsThe KPI is constructed out of: Number of overall open reviews since 3 months; Number of open reviews of the particular CDL member since 3 months; Number of new overall open reviews since the last measurement and the number of new open reviews of a particular CDL member since the last measurement.
Reference data recordsTotal number of reference data records
Shared createsThe KPI is constructed out of two values: Number of records created by all CDL members and the number of records created by the CDL member
Shared recordsThe KPI is constructed out of two values: Number of records shared by all CDL members and the number of records shared by the CDL member
Shared updatesThe KPI is constructed out of two values: Number of records updated by all CDL members and the number of records updated by the particular CDL member
Whitelist bank accountsThe KPI is constructed out of two values: Number of bank accounts shared by all CDL members and the number of bank accounts shared by a particular CDL member
Whitelist trust scoresNumber of trust scores stored in the CDL whitelist database over all bank accounts