Master data management - looking beyond the customer

How to make sense of the battle of ideas between "cross domain" and specialist hub approaches to master data management.

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Not only does master data need to be managed across systems within a country, but subsets of this data, such as international product codes, need to be co-ordinated across the enterprise as well.

In many cases it is impractical for enterprises to deploy a single hub or hubs at the enterprise level.

A single cross-domain hub at the enterprise level will have serious operational demands placed on it. The more systems it is connected to, the scarier it will be if the hub runs out of steam or breaks - are you going to stop opening new customer accounts while your master data hub comes back on-line?

Eventually what will be needed are technologies that can avoid this bottleneck by achieving synchronisation across multiple instances of a managed federation of hubs (rather as enterprise email directories are replicated in a managed way across multiple systems), and yet few vendors have even begun to address this issue.

Since 2006 there has been a sea change in vendor marketing, as companies who previously defended the specialist hub approach have set out roadmaps to integrate their separate technologies.

Smaller independent MDM vendors have a window of opportunity to prosper by offering a cross-domain approach today, while the industry giants execute on their long-term integration roadmaps.

All vendors need to consider how they are going to deal with the demands of multi-national companies that want a unified approach to all different master data types, across countries and regions, in a manner that does not become a bottleneck that throttles operational system performance.

A detailed whitepaper about this issue can be purchased from the Information Difference website.

Andy Hayler is the founder of Information Difference, a boutique market research and analyst firm specialising in the master data management. He was the founder of Kalido

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