Enterprise MDM and apple pie

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These days looking after single domains of master data, the traditional silos of customers, vendors and materials, is so last year. The latest value driver is bringing all of the organisation’s master data together in one place and having one MDM solution. Everybody wants that. Who wouldn’t?

Jill Dyche, a partner with Baseline Consulting, talks about this in one of her insightful blog entries on MDM, 1000 points of MDM light, where she mentions how the market is maturing away from customer data integration (CDI) and product information management (PIM) basics towards a more holistic view of master data management.

It is one of those conformist truisms which people will never dare contradict to your face. Go to any Business Intelligence, Master Data Management or Data Governance conference, website, blog or individual and they will all sing from the same hymn sheet here. Multi-domain is the MDM panacea.

Of course it goes without saying that when you speak to any MDM vendor (these days any software vendor for that matter),they will have the ultimate solution or at very least “markitecture” for solving your enterprise MDM issues.

Unfortunately, in this case actions speak louder than words:

  • How many organisations have really implemented a master data organisation and platform which cuts across the silos of enterprise data? Not as many as you would think or hope.
  • How many analysts have produced an overall picture of the MDM market moving beyond CDI and PIM? There are some notable exceptions.
  • How many multi-domain MDM software tools are there on this year’s best seller list or on your friendly CIO’s Christmas wish list? Too few.

Why does this sorry state of affairs exist? Firstly, multi-domain MDM is not just about the technology. Secondly, it is harder than you think.

In Accenture’s experience, to be successful at enterprise-level MDM your organisation needs to think through the people, process and technology aspects of MDM. The corporation needs to have the maturity to be able to resolve the fiefdoms which grow up around data and confront the thorny problems of who owns the data and where the data can be best stewarded.

The issue of how to define a common view of the data elements about which the organisation cares most must be wrestled. While all this politicking is going on and the fog is lifting on the organisation’s data, the enterprise architects need to find the ultimate shape shifter, the technology that can be all things to all use cases. Crunch serious data quality, model fiendish workflows, hold horrendously complex enterprise models, the list goes on, and on.

So in summary, everybody believes that multi-domain MDM is way of the future as much as everybody loves apple pie, but first we need to nail down the perfect recipe that everybody will savour!


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