Master Data Management for Information Management

Abandon conventional wisdom and invest in your architecture.

InformationWeek Staff, Contributor

December 15, 2004

3 Min Read



The business initiatives for performance and process improvement, along with regulatory concerns for compliance management, are creating a new focus on and investment in information management. The purpose of information management and its supporting architecture is to ensure high quality and efficient processing of data in the enterprise. While seemingly simple in concept, this is yet another challenging and transformational step at top of the CIO list today. To address this issue, companies must move beyond conventional wisdom and historical database or integration approaches. Adopting an information management initiative that focuses on managing master data including definitions, references, and business to technical metadata can become a focal point for improvement. Ventana Research recommends that organizations investigate Master Data Management and how it can play a role in the data warehouse and BI architecture across your entire enterprise.


The demand for information is increasing at such a fast pace that IT organizations are struggling to deliver timely responses to the information requests of businesses. Because of the unfortunate state of most companies’ information architecture, these requests take months, not days, to satisfy. This has driven business and operational management to become more involved with understanding and driving new investments to overcome these shortfalls. Many organizations are re-examining their existing approaches to managing data and ensuring the foundation of information management is well-managed.

Many organizations just consider standardization and consolidation of data integration and BI systems without considering the required investment for managing the foundation and interoperability of data in the enterprise. We have found that leading organizations are focusing and investing into data management that can be leveraged with existing investments to ensure high quality data for their business. Master data management (MDM) is the practice and technology of providing business and IT with the capability to define and link master data that includes definition, reference, and metadata in a secure and high quality manner. As global organizations take on this approach, business users must work to ensure the business and technical aspects of the data will deliver the value needed.

Ventana Research is now seeing a significant focus on the data. Organizations are ensuring that their data warehouse and information management investments include management of the data outside of the data integration, database, and BI tools. Many organizations have, or are simply picking, a best-of-breed tool for data integration, data warehousing, and business intelligence, which will not necessarily bring the full business value sought by the CIO and business management. IT organizations should consider best practices that balance investments and include master data management as part of their existing and future information architectures. The first step is to evaluate individual technologies in the context of the entire information architecture, and not as separate technologies.


To bring high quality and more relevant information to business, IT and business management must create a parallel strategy to improve the data management and information architecture of the organization. New advancements in information management, like master data management, can provide a focal point for data quality. It allows you to link information from source operational systems to business intelligence and performance management systems. Ventana Research strongly advises you to focus on master data to ensure a strong foundation for your information management initiatives. In addition, it is important to ensure that your investment in master data management will operate in a heterogeneous environment, allowing you to leverage your existing ERP, DW, and BI investments.

Mark Smith is CEO & Senior Vice President of Research at Ventana Research (, a research and advisory services firm.

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