What is your e-mail address?

My e-mail address is:

Do you have a password?

Forgot your password? Click here
close



Return to the Previous Page

Philip Russom

By Philip Russom

Blog archive

The State of Multi-Data-Domain Master Data Management (MDM)

Blog by Philip Russom
Research Director for Data Management, TDWI

Allow me a moment to parachute into the middle of an issue that’s come up a lot this calendar year, namely multi-data-domain master data management (MDM). I assume you are familiar with MDM; if not, spend a few minutes on Wikipedia.

The issue is that most user organizations deploy single-domain MDM solutions. The most popular data domain is customer data, but other common domains for MDM are (in priority order) financials, products, partners, employees, and locations.

Here’s the problem with single-data-domain MDM. It’s a barrier to having common, consensus-based entity definitions and standard reference data that would allow you to correlate information across multiple domains. For example, single-domain MDM is great for creating a single view of customers. But it needs to federate or somehow integrate with MDM for the product-data domain, if you want to extend that view to include (with a high level of accuracy and consistency) products and services that each customer has acquired or considered. Or you might include financial or location data. Some day, you’ll include data from social media. All this is easier and more accurate with multi-data-domain MDM.

The examples probably sound analytic to you, but they’re equally applicable to operations. And multi-data-domain MDM can improve lots of data management functions, like analytics, identity resolution, customer intimacy, data quality, data integration, deduplication, and sharing data across disparate departments and their IT systems.

I wish it weren’t true, but I still see most MDM solutions as focused on the customer data domain -- and that’s all. If MDM addresses other domains -- typically financial or product data -- that’s done in a separate solution, with little or integration with MDM for customer data. Some user organizations have multiple customer-focused MDM solutions, say one each for marketing analytics, direct marketing, sales pipeline, customer service, and so on. So much for a single view of the customer! These organizations have their hands full consolidating customer-data-domain MDM solutions, and that delays the next step, which is multi-data-domain MDM.

Despite these dire situations, I’ve also encountered user organizations that have successfully extended MDM to span multiple data domains. And some of these spoke at TDWI’s Solution Summit on Master Data in March 2011. For example, Cathy Burrows from Royal Bank of Canada explained how they consolidated multiple MDM solutions to create a single, central, and governed MDM solution that provides a rich, accurate, and even intimate view of each customer. They’re now enriching customer views with reference data about the products these customers have.

As another example, Mark Love of the Veterans Health Administration (VHA) talked about how the VHA started with a form of MDM for patient identity, then branched out into many other domains. To keep the domaines straight and to leverage hierarchical relations among domains, the VHA created a “master set of domains.”

I got to thinking about all this because, just yesterday, I was talking about multi-data-domain MDM with Ravi Shankar of Informatica. “Most of our recent MDM deals are multi-domain,” he said. Ravi talked through a list of Informatica customers who have multi-data-domain MDM in production today. I can’t tell you the customer names, but they’re in banking, high-tech manufacturing, food services, and government agencies. All began with one domain, then extended to others. Also, all deployed MDM in combination with their data integration and/or data quality solutions, which shows how MDM is interrelated with other data management disciplines. The list Ravi shared with me gives me confidence that more and more user organizations are succeeding with multi-data-domain MDM – and that’s a good thing.

But the future of multi-data-domain MDM isn’t totally rosy. At TDWI’s Solution Summit on Master Data in March 2011, we also heard from Evan Levy of Baseline Consulting (recently acquired by DataFlux). He said: “Multi-data-domain MDM is technically feasible today. But it makes no sense in terms of sponsorship, funding, or satisfying departmental and application-specific requirements.”

I agree with Evan’s second point wholeheartedly, because a number of users have explained to me over the years that sales and marketing need to own customer-data-domain MDM, even if it’s only applied within their customer-base segmentation, direct marketing, and sales contact applications. Likewise, the supply chain managers want to fund and control product and partner reference data. The financial guys have their own requirements for financial data, and HR has MDM requirements for employee data. All too often, these departments aren’t too keen on sharing.

But I don’t fully agree with Evan’s first point. I think there ARE situations where multi-data-domain MDM makes perfect sense, and I noted those earlier in this blog. In my experience, a common tipping point is often when technical and business people have reached maturity with customer-data MDM, and they realize they can’t get to the next level without consistent and integrated MDM about other domains.

Another way to put it is that the single view of the customer gets broader as it matures, thus demanding information from other domains. Yet another way to think of it is that multi-data-domain MDM often comes in a later life cycle stage, after single-data-domain MDM has proved the concept of MDM, in general. And much of the success of multi-data-domain MDM -- in my opinion -- is not about technology. Success depends on having a corporate culture that demands data sharing in support of cross-functional coordination.

So, folks, what do you think about the state of multi-data-domain MDM? Let me know. Thanks!

(Note that TDWI will repeat (for the fourth year) its Solution Summit on Master Data, Quality, and Governance, coming up March 4-6, 2012 in Savannah, Georgia. Mark your calendar!)

Posted by Philip Russom on August 24, 2011


Comments

Tue, Jul 17, 2012 RAJA THANGAVELU India

Thanks for the posting. The topic and subject remains relevant and gaining importance. Starting with one domain proving the ROI and the business benefits is the way to gain funding for extending to other domains. In fact the ROI grows exponentially as we add domains meaningfully to derive business benefits. A roadmap might help. Raja Thangavelu www.lucidtechsol.com

Fri, Sep 16, 2011 Mark Allen

I certainly think that executing a multi-domain MDM initiative is feasible and may even be required with implementation of a business suite application using a common data hub architecture. It can also be relevant in other system environments and architectures, but in all cases it becomes a matter of thoughtful planning and having flexibility in the execution. I'll say up front that if implementing just one MDM practice is problematic then beware of a multi-domain initiative, but for those that can successfully wrap there arms around a MDM execution will find that multi-domain MDM isn't that much of a stretch if there is good enterprise recognition and coordination between a central program management office -- a central MDM or Data Governance PMO office -- and the domain specific teams. I recently wrote an article for The Hub Design Magazine called "MDM Multi-Domain Planning and Challenges" for The Hub Design Magazine that can be referred to at http://hubdesignsmagazine.com/2011/07/20/mdm-multi-domain-planning-and-challenges-by-mark-allen/

Wed, Aug 31, 2011 Srinivas Bommena India

For any Master Data Management Project to be successful, it has to sponsored by CXO level executive to get a buy in from each and every Department / Function. CXO level executive should give a clear understanding of as to how it is going to help the overall organization in driving business growth. He should drive home the point effectively in order for the Deparment Heads to see broader picture rather than narrow "Departmental View". If any of the departments are not willing to share the data for the benefit of the organization, then that organization is bound to fail in the long term. Information is power and more you mine your raw data the more "intelligence" one would get out of it. This "intelligence" is going to aid executives to make both tactical and strategic decisions.

Wed, Aug 31, 2011 Srinivas Bommena India

For any Master Data Management Project to be successful, it has to sponsored by CXO level executive to get a buy in from each and every Department / Function. CXO level executive should give a clear understanding of as to how it is going to help the overall organization in driving business growth. He should drive home the point effectively in order for the Deparment Heads to see broader picture rather than narrow "Departmental View". If any of the departments are not willing to share the data for the benefit of the organization, then that organization is bound to fail in the long term. Information is power and more you mine your raw data the more "intelligence" one would get out of it. This "intelligence" is going to aid executives to make both tactical and strategic decisions.

Thu, Aug 25, 2011 FMJohnson

Hi,

I think there are three key phrases here. Your own comment about Informatica's multi-domain customers:

"All began with one domain, then extended to others."

And your observations:

"In my experience, a common tipping point is often when technical and business people have reached maturity with customer-data MDM, and they realize they can’t get to the next level without consistent and integrated MDM about other domains."

"Yet another way to think of it is that multi-data-domain MDM often comes in a later life cycle stage, after single-data-domain MDM has proved the concept of MDM, in general."

I don't think there's anything wrong with starting out with a single domain (customer, product, etc.), as long as all involved (business and IT) ensure it remains open to expansion as that original initiative matures and is ready for the next level.

There are many organizations where an all-in, boil-the-ocean multi-domain MDM initiative would never get off the ground due to budget, politics, technical scope, etc. Building it in open, compatible modules, stage by stage, often has more promise for success.

The easiest way to eat an elephant? One bite at a time.

Show All Comments

Add a Comment

Your Name:(optional)
Your Email:(optional)
Your Location:(optional)
Comment:
Please type the letters/numbers you see above
Back to Top

Channels by Topic

  • Agile BI »
    Includes:
    • Agile
    • Scoping
    • Principles
    • Iterations
    • Scrum
    • Testing
  • Big Data Analytics »
    Includes:
    • Advanced Analytics
    • Diverse Data Types
    • Massive Volumes
    • Real-time/Streaming
    • Hadoop
    • MapReduce
  • Business Analytics »
    Includes:
    • Advanced Analytics
    • Predictive
    • Customer
    • Spatial
    • Text Mining
    • Big Data
  • Business Intelligence »
    Includes:
    • Agile
    • In-memory
    • Search
    • Real-time
    • SaaS
    • Open source
  • BI Leadership »
    Includes:
    • Latest Trends
    • Technologies
    • Thought Leadership
  • Data Analysis and Design »
    Includes:
    • Business Requirements
    • Metrics
    • KPIs
    • Rules
    • Models
    • Dimensions
    • Testing
  • Data Management »
    Includes:
    • Data Quality
    • Integration
    • Governance
    • Profiling
    • Monitoring
    • ETL
    • CDI
    • Master Data Management
    • Analytic/Operational
  • Data Warehousing »
    Includes:
    • Platforms
    • Architectures
    • Appliances
    • Spreadmarts
    • Databases
    • Services
  • Performance Management »
    Includes:
    • Dashboards, Scorecards
    • Measures
    • Objectives
    • Compliance
    • Profitability
    • Cost Management
  • Program Management »
    Includes:
    • Leadership
    • Planning
    • Team-Building
    • Staffing
    • Scoping
    • Road Maps
    • BPM, CRM, SCM
  • Master Data Management »
    Includes:
    • Business Definitions
    • Sharing
    • Integration
    • ETL, EAI, EII
    • Replication
    • Data Governance

Sponsored Links