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June 8, 2008


Importance of Integration to MDM

by Dan Power

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We’ve discussed many other topics on this blog, such as data quality, best practices for Master Data Management, the five essential elements of MDM, and Master Data Management and the art of politics.

But one topic I don’t think we’ve given enough “airtime” to is integration. There are many different types of integration technology available today, and a veritable alphabet soup of acronyms to go with them.

There’s Extract-Transform-Load (ETL), Enterprise Application Integration (EAI), Enteprise Information Integration (EII) and Business Process Management (BPM).

In an upcoming piece in the online edition of DM Review magazine which I wrote last week, I go into more detail on the different types of integration and why I think Business Process Management offers some real advantages, due to the close fit with Service Oriented Architecture (SOA) and its flexibility and ability to model complex business processes that span multiple application silos.

But as I said, that’s a topic for another piece, and we’ll post a link to that here when it becomes available later this month.

In today’s piece, I want to urge MDM project team leaders, program managers, and “data champions” to think about the importance of integration itself, and the existence of certain typical requirements.

While integration doesn’t always have to be real-time, if you find yourself thinking solely in a batch-oriented mode, take a step back and ask yourself, “what will we be giving up by not providing for any real-time capabilities?”

And while straightforward, point-to-point XML data exchange may be all you need, ask yourself if you’ll be giving up anything important by not being able to model, deploy and manage business processes.

And try not to limit yourself by planning only for one-way integration into the hub. As hard as it is to convince the business owners to subscribe to the data quality improvements and external content that you typically do in an MDM hub project, you’ll make it much harder to achieve your expected ROI for the MDM initiative if the source system business owners don’t receive any of those improvements.

What are some of the integration “sticking points” you’ve run into on your MDM projects?


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