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Master Data Management

Here is what Wikipedia (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Master_Data_Management) defines Master Data Management:

In computing, master data management (MDM) comprises a set of processes and tools that consistently defines and manages the non-transactional data entities of an organization (which may include reference data). MDM has the objective of providing processes for collecting, aggregating, matching, consolidating, quality-assuring, persisting and distributing such data throughout an organization to ensure consistency and control in the ongoing maintenance and application use of this information.

The term recalls the concept of a master file from an earlier computing era. MDM is similar to, and some would say the same as, virtual or federated database management.

Issues

At a basic level, MDM seeks to ensure that an organization does not use multiple (potentially inconsistent) versions of the same master data in different parts of its operations, which can occur in large organizations.

Other problems include (for example) issues with the quality of data, consistent classification and identification of data, and data-reconciliation issues.

One of the most common reasons some large corporations experience massive issues with MDM is growth through mergers and acquisitions. Two organizations which merge will typically create an entity with duplicate master data (since each likely had at least one master database of its own prior to the merger).

Solutions

Processes commonly seen in MDM solutions include source identification, data collection, data transformation, normalization, rule administration, error detection and correction, data consolidation, data storage, data distribution, and data governance.

The tools include data networks, file systems, a data warehouse, data marts, an operational data store, data mining, data analysis, data federation and data visualization.

The selection of entities considered for MDM depends somewhat on the nature of an organization. In the common case of commercial enterprises, MDM may apply to such entities as customer (Customer Data Integration), product (Product Information Management), employee, and vendor. MDM processes identify the sources from which to collect descriptions of these entities. In the course of transformation and normalization, administrators adapt descriptions to conform to standard formats and data domains, making it possible to remove duplicate instances of any entity. Such processes generally result in an organizational MDM repository, from which all requests for a certain entity instance produce the same description, irrespective of the originating sources and the requesting destinations.

Criticism of MDM Solutions

Large costs and low return on investment from major MDM solution providers.

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