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Claudia Imhoff

Welcome to my blog.

This is another means for me to communicate, educate and participate within the Business Intelligence industry. It is a perfect forum for airing opinions, thoughts, vendor and client updates, problems and questions. To maximize the blog's value, it must be a participative venue. This means I will look forward to hearing from you often, since your input is vital to the blog's success. All I ask is that you treat me, the blog, and everyone who uses it with respect.

So...check it out every week to see what is new and exciting in our ever changing BI world.

About the author >

A thought leader, visionary, and practitioner, Claudia Imhoff, Ph.D., is an internationally recognized expert on analytics, business intelligence, and the architectures to support these initiatives. Dr. Imhoff has co-authored five books on these subjects and writes articles (totaling more than 150) for technical and business magazines.

She is also the Founder of the Boulder BI Brain Trust, a consortium of independent analysts and consultants (www.BBBT.us). You can follow them on Twitter at #BBBT

Editor's Note:
More articles and resources are available in Claudia's BeyeNETWORK Expert Channel. Be sure to visit today!

Having just gone through a move back into my newly renovated house, I have had an epiphany about master data management. We consumers should demand our own version of this functionality...

Let me set this up for you. What happens when you move? You must send out hundreds of postcards or emails or voice mails letting everyone -- friends, family, businesses -- know what your new address is. The data is incredibly redundant and, in my case, easily prone to errors from the manual effort it takes. Plus it is just bloody boring writing my address over and over and over again...

So -- where am I going with this? We have heard a lot about master data management (MDM) for corporations. In case you don't know what that is, a common definition is that it consists of all that wonderful reference data that companies collect on locations, products, orders, and, yes, customers. The idea is to somehow centrally store and manage that data making it available to all systems -- including BI systems -- with a need for it. Companies then have one place to enter, update, and even delete this data rather than having to do so in hundreds if not thousands of system databases. The various systems using the data would either get updates from the MDM function (via message brokering or other mechanisms) or use the MDM database itself as a direct source for this information.

MDM functionality is a hot topic for a lot of vendors and is the topic of an upcoming B-EYE-Network research paper co-authored by Colin White and myself. That is what got me to thinking that the vendors are missing a truly wonderful opportunity by focusing only on how corporations can use this capability. How about consumers? Think about having your own personal MDM function where you update your address and other information once. Then give access to that data to your selected accesses (see list above).

Can this be done in a secure fashion -- a way that does not allow my private information to be accessed by unauthorized peepers? Sure. We are already doing something like this with the likes of Plaxo and LinkedIn . The problem is that you have to be a member of each one of these to keep up with all your contacts. Also, I can't "link" my magazines into this service -- so far, it is only for people not businesses. And then there are all the security and privacy issues to be solved...

So -- there you go, vendors. Let's move MDM one step further and make it functional not only for businesses but also for the everyday consumer. I'm betting that there is a huge market for this type of service. I know I would use it.

I look forward to hearing what you think about this.

Yours in BI (and single pint of data entry) Success.


Posted March 10, 2006 1:59 PM
Permalink | 1 Comment |

1 Comment

I like the setup, but talk about leaving me hanging! It is like taking a sip of a Rio Margarita and someone takes it away from me :-)

I like the common sense approach that you are taking with this lead in. I think MDM needs more of this type of explanation for the business community. I see too many customer's getting wrapped around the axle with MDM applications/technology and are not able to make the progress with the basic task at hand.

I look forward to reading the white paper.

Jim McManus
Managing Consultant - BI/DW
Sun Microsystems, Inc.

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