How do you keep track of a company in today's increasingly fluctuating business environment? Over the past couple of years, we've seen a record number of mergers and acquisitions, companies filing for bankruptcy, as well as new business sprouting up. Then there's the complex global nature of business, with varied jurisdictions and sovereignties. It's no easy task to accurately identify a business entity and its relationship to your own organization. Fortunately, there are global identifiers that help you understand how to refer to and distinguish unique business entities.
There are different approaches for what a company identification system should look like. Some believe corporate URLs can be leveraged as corporate identifiers, and while it certainly has its merits, it cannot offer the accuracy, integrity and timeliness of a D-U-N-S® Number. URLs can exist for various levels of an organization (divisions, branches, even brands) but there is no inherent hierarchy. In fact, one company can own many, many URLs (dnb.com, dnbi.com, dunandbradstreet.com, dnbcredit.com, etc.) Plus, the simple requirement of linking them to enterprise system customer codes makes it problematic at best.
The D-U-N-S Number is Dun & Bradstreet's unique nine-digit identifier for businesses. It is used to establish a business credit file, which is often referenced by lenders and potential business partners to help predict the reliability and/or financial stability of the company in question. It is also leveraged by thousands of enterprises (large and small, commercial companies and governmental bodies) to persistently verify the existence of a business entity. D-U-N-S, which stands for data universal number system, is used to and maintain accurate and timely information on +250 M global businesses.
Often referred to as the "Social Security number for businesses," in reality, it's even more pervasive than Social Security. The system is used in dozens of countries around the world, including the U.S., Australia, and the European Union, and confers numerous benefits on businesses that participate. The business credit file associated with your business's D-U-N-S Number can help potential partners and lenders learn about your business and make informed decisions about whether or not to work with you as a client, supplier or partner. It's used by businesses across the globe to inform smarter business decisions, as referenced by MDM expert and blogger Henrik Liliendahl:
"At the Product Data Lake service I am working on right now, we have decided to use an external business identifier from day one. I know this may be something a typical start-up will consider much later if and when the party master data population has grown. But, besides being optimistic about our service, I think it will be a win not to have to fight data quality issues later with guaranteed increased costs.
For the identifier to use we have chosen the DUNS Number from Dun & Bradstreet. The reason is that this currently is the only worldwide covered business identifier. Also, Dun & Bradstreet offers some additional data that fits our business model. This includes consistent line-of-business information and worldwide company family trees."Click here to learn more about using a D-U-N-S Number for your business.