And I spoke earlier this week at the New England Oracle SOA Users Group, talking about Master Data Management as a foundation for Service-Oriented Architecture.
MDM initiatives seem to be getting linked to Service-Oriented Architecture or to advanced analytics and business intelligence programs.
I think there can be a problem (but also an opportunity) for MDM in inserting itself between two things that used to talk directly from one to the other (an ERP system to a data warehouse) or (b) asserting itself as a predecessor task to ensure a better outcome (for example, when MDM is used to consolidate and improve the quality of enterprise data before people try to use it in analytics or business intelligence).
While I think it’s true that MDM is in fact needed at most large organizations, having to coordinate with an already-underway SOA initiative, or step back from a planned BI initiative and first tackle MDM, does complicate things a bit. So that’s the “problem” part.
The “opportunity” part is that, for organizations that have the foresight or the luck to tackle MDM first, it makes implementing SOA or achieving business intelligence success that much easier. There’s already a centralized repository of information on customers or products (or whatever domains have been mastered), and that information is proactively managed so that it’s trusted to be accurate, complete, timely and consistent.
Whichever situation your organization is in (tackling MDM first or building it into something else like SOA or advanced analytics), spend the time to develop a workable MDM strategy, using a holistic approach that addresses people, process, technology and information. By all means include an MDM hub in your planning, but make sure you also plan for business process management or sophisticated integration, as well as built-in or bolted-on data quality and enrichment capabilities. And be sure to build a data governance framework around your MDM initiative.
I’ll write a trip report after next week’s DIG conference, to let you know what I thought of the conference itself and whether I got lucky at the tables!