RESEARCH & RESOURCES

LESSON - Multidomain Master Data Management

By Jim Walker, Senior Marketing Manager, Initiate Systems, Inc.

Mastering multiple domains is the natural extension of a successful first phase of an MDM project. Typically, organizations start mastering a single domain, such as a person. Once successful, the organization quickly realizes that the addition of location and products or services can solve complex business issues and also open new models and opportunities to extend value across the enterprise.

The value of multidomain MDM is derived from the ability to extract insight from the complex relationships between customers, parties, external suppliers, partners, and the complexity of the goods and services they provide.

This insight will provide substantial business benefit to the organization. First, mastering a domain provides the enterprise with a single version of the truth for the entity, resulting in reduced duplicates, fewer inconsistencies, and an accurate, complete representation of important data. Second, the relationships between these mastered domains can support and improve valuable operational and analytical business processes, resulting in tangible improvement to the bottom and top line.

Organizations are starting down the multidomain path to reap these benefits today. For instance:

  • A service organization has optimized operations and improved service by using location to master multiple customers under a single roof.
  • A criminal justice agency is protecting its community by connecting the dots between people, places, things (such as weapons or vehicles), and events to more effectively identify and catch criminals and persons of interest in real time.
  • A retail business is reducing risk, improving sales effectiveness, and increasing customer satisfaction by using customer, product, and location information to gain a reliable understanding of products and services available at a location. The business then creates marketing programs to help pitch the “right” product at the “right” location for the “right” customer.
  • Healthcare enterprises are able to properly identify providers and their relationships with patients and to associate providers with outcomes to measure the value of the care provided.

Organizations that decide to master more than one data domain are best served by deploying an MDM architecture that has a coherent, unified approach to dealing with all master data types. Mastering multiple domains requires an MDM solution that provides the following:

  • Flexible data model. As you add domains to your implementation, the model must be flexible enough to accommodate whatever data you want to master. Additionally, the solution should provide standard data model templates as a baseline for quick delivery time and allow you to easily modify the templates to suit your particular data needs.
  • Open integration options. Every organization is different, and interfacing with various data sources is complex business. Your chosen MDM platform should offer multiple production-ready integration options, from customizable Web services to standard ETL and batch-based interfaces.
  • Accurate relationship engine. Your solutions’ matching algorithm should be sophisticated, yet easily tuned so it can automate match and link functions as accurately as possible, no matter the data model. This not only helps your business identify unique customers and products, but it also eases the burden of data stewardship.
  • Scalable, high-performance architecture. Adding domains and data requires analytic horsepower. The solution should scale to meet the needs of a growing organization. It should support bulk data migration as well as sub-second response times over hundreds or even billions of records.

Mastering customer data is the logical first step down the MDM path for many organizations. Extending MDM to cover both people and the relationships between people, places, and things is a valuable step in the right direction for your MDM journey.


For a free white paper on this topic, click here and choose the title “Master Data Management as ‘Plan B’: Why Your Data Warehouse, CRM, ETL, and EII Solutions Are Better with MDM.”

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