How should I Normalize Names as Part of a CRM?

This might sound simple, but how do you normalize First Name, Middle Initial, and Last Names on a board? While it might be nice to have a unique contact ID, making an ID tends to clutter up the first column of the board–and that’s how I’d normally go about making sure that a contact is unique in a database. I’ve seen people combining the first and last name of a contact into a single field, and I can see the benefit of that–in the old days this would’ve be a nightmare to parse, but nowadays filtering algorithms make this easy. However, there’s still the problem with having similar names, or duplicate names, or inconsistent data entry of names for the same person. Please, can someone help me figure out how to normalize names as part of implementing a CRM for contacts on