Is There No Single View of Master Data Management?

In respose to a comment on our Data Integration blog, we're seeing that Data Integration as well as MDM tends to be an overloaded term. Not surprising! Let's dive into this in a little more detail and see some of the trends.

Today there is disagreement about the role that MDM plays in managing data-centric applications and the future role that it has in redefining data integration platforms. What does is it mean to master your data? Why is it essential to consider as part of a data integration platform?

Let's look at the existing definition of MDM which is focused on managing data per a specific domain. For example, customer data integration (CDI) hubs focused on the customer data domain, while product information management (PIM) products focuses on the product data domain. Domain-specific MDM addresses a single view of product, customer, supplier, site, or financial data depending on the need. There are multiple modes for these MDM domain models depending on the industry or the requirement.

In addition a separate thread of MDM development has emerged which is focused on downstream analytical MDM requirements and tends to be more data-domain agnostic. With domain-agnostic MDM, there are functional capabilities that relate directly to components found in data integration platforms. These include data movement, data synchronization, data quality, data federation, and especially data management, which take into consideration metadata management. This approach masters data for any domain - often seen as a single view of the truth. In this definition, MDM includes platform capabilities for creating (what many analysts have named) a 'single view of the business', see a good blog on the subject on TDWI. These MDM platform approaches require comprehensive data integration capabilities to ensure that all parts of the enterprise cooperate and work toward common goals.

A single view of the truth for all enterprise data might initially be perceived as a luxury, but it is an important obstacle that needs to be surmounted. Today’s companies continue to struggle in their MDM initiatives because most vendors have yet to deliver unified, comprehensive MDM solutions that combine both domain-specific and domain-agnostic aspects. In fact, platforms require significant customization and professional services to ensure a successful MDM implementation.

As a result, enterprise architects and data stewards should exercise caution before undertaking an MDM strategy without first implementing core data integration solutions that integrate their data-centric applications. Despite the chaos and uncertainty in the diverging MDM definitions, data integration can be seen as the cornerstone for successful data-centric architectures and provide authoritative master data for a single view of business.

You can read more survey and analyst information we collected on MDM and the importance of Data Integration platforms in our State of the Data Integration White Paper. The paper is available for download here: www.oracle.com/goto/ODI

Comments:

As a consultant for Initiate Systems - one of the major players in the MDM marketspace - I am always fascinated to read pieces like this one. Keep up the good work.

Posted by Graham Charters on November 27, 2008 at 10:08 PM PST #

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