Ok, so you never thought that Master Data Management (MDM) was cool. Well I just returned from IBM’s Information On Demand conference and found that IBM has gotten MDM fever in a big way. In fact, they were handling out cool MDM buttons. Now, MDM has been around for a long time. Customers are always trying to get to a “single view of the customer”. But because there are so many sources of data that are stove-piped and disconnected across departments, it has been nearly impossible. One of the approaches that was popular a few years ago was Enterprise Information Integration (EII). I hereby declare EII dead! What is taking its place is true MDM.
Now that MDM is starting to mature it has the potential to become the authoritative way to manage the single trusted view of the customer. I got some valuable insights into MDM from Dan Wolfson, a Distinguished Engineer and MDM expert at IBM. His view is that MDM has to be constructed as a hub. Through this federated view it is possible to understand the context of data. I really like this concept and think that if we are indeed going to move to a model where there is a single view of the customer it will be because companies can have a single way to manage their information about customers, products, services, and the like.
Let me digress for a minute and tell you a little about IBM’s new approach to MDM. The company has come up with a strange name for it: multi-form MDM. Despite this name, I actually think they are on to something. The idea behind this is that rather than having a different platform for each type of MDM focused application, there is a single platform that can be used no matter what type of approach is at issue. For example, there are customer centric MDM applications that focus on the details about customer, location, relationships, etc. Another application might focus on products such as a company’s product portfolio, billing details, sales territories, and the like.
There is a lot more to say about this MDM hub approach but that will have to come later. Check out our monthly newsletter. I will probably write a more in-depth article about that later.
But as I promised, here are five cool things about MDM:
1. A Master Data Management platform can help avoid a thousand versions of the “truth”
2 . If implemented from a holistic perspective, MDM can actually solve problems
3. MDM can actually become an information integration standard
4. MDM could become the lynch pin between metadata, semantic web, and registry/repository
5. MDM is cool because it really matters to the business