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6/29/2011
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Path To A Single Source Of Truth

Let business drivers, data volatility and project scope determine your approach and deployment style for master data management.

For a few years now, IT organizations have geared their optimization efforts toward infrastructure, process logic, and user interfaces. But focusing on data is the only way to achieve services-oriented IT. Here are four steps to determine if your company will benefit from a master data management initiative.

1. Rate yourself on the five attributes that predict your ability to profit from MDM:

>> Compliance and privacy obligations, such as the Sarbanes-Oxley Act and meaningful use.

>> Portfolios of broad, retail-oriented offerings that can benefit from cross- and up-selling.

>> Complex supplier network that can benefit from a consolidated view of transactions.

>> Multiple data entry and data transfer channels that require a centralized data quality and governance process, including activities related to data cleansing and authorization and validation.

>> A federated business services strategy based on service-oriented architecture that demands a complementary data services strategy.

2. Your principal business drivers dictate one of three main methods of use:

>> Collaborative MDM is aligned with the business process layer. It's used to manage entities whose attributes are owned and maintained by a diverse, yet interlinked, group of users.

>> Operational MDM is aligned with the services layer and works closely with the SOA stack.

>> Analytical MDM works on the side, with business intelligence applications to push out changes related to master data integrity.

3. Your data volatility determines the implementation style:

>> Registry style is a rudimentary implementation that provides read-only access to master data.

>> Coexistence style, where master data is refreshed periodically, works best in a nonvolatile environment.

>> Transaction style, where master data is always in sync with transactional systems, requires robust support for SOA, messaging, and transactional monitoring.

4. Your scope determines the number of domains needed:

>> Most initiatives include customer and product data domains, but businesses have been feeling the data pinch in other critical areas, including partners and suppliers, contracts, and locations and shipping.

>> MDM's scope is expanding to incorporate additional services, such as identity analytics and event management, and products that specialize in newer domains and niche verticals. Watch developments there.

--Sreedhar Kajeepeta (iwletters@techweb.com)

Read the full analysis at informationweek.com/1286/mdmguide.

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