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Colin White

I like the various blogs associated with my many hobbies and even those to do with work. I find them very useful and I was excited when the Business Intelligence Network invited me to write my very own blog. At last I now have somewhere to park all the various tidbits that I know are useful, but I am not sure what to do with. I am interested in a wide range of information technologies and so you might find my thoughts will bounce around a bit. I hope these thoughts will provoke some interesting discussions.

About the author >

Colin White is the founder of BI Research and president of DataBase Associates Inc. As an analyst, educator and writer, he is well known for his in-depth knowledge of data management, information integration, and business intelligence technologies and how they can be used for building the smart and agile business. With many years of IT experience, he has consulted for dozens of companies throughout the world and is a frequent speaker at leading IT events. Colin has written numerous articles and papers on deploying new and evolving information technologies for business benefit and is a regular contributor to several leading print- and web-based industry journals. For ten years he was the conference chair of the Shared Insights Portals, Content Management, and Collaboration conference. He was also the conference director of the DB/EXPO trade show and conference.

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

As a part of the research project Claudia Imhoff and I are doing on master data management we did a short survey on the Business Intelligence Network about MDM usage in companies. Of the 60 companies responding to the survey, 30 were planning MDM projects, 7 had implemented an MDM solution, and 23 had no MDM plans. Of the 37 companies working on MDM, 26 were focused on product data, 23 on customer data, and 9 on financial data. It was interesting to note that the focus on product master data was higher than on customer master data, which is surprising.

One key focus of the report we are working on is the difference between master data integration and master data management. Many MDM projects focus on integration, i.e., they try to solve the symptoms of master data problems, rather than attack the root cause. Management of master data on the the other hand focuses not only creating a single system of record, but also focuses on the systems of entry where master data problems are created. True enterprise MDM also handles the management of past, present and planned master data hierarchies. Such a system is extremely valuable for driving data warehouse design.

In the survey we gave two definitions for MDM. One was oriented toward master data integration and technology, whereas the other was oriented toward true enterprise MDM and MDM disciplines. 19 respondents opted for the technology definition, whereas 39 chose the enterprise MDM definition.

The MDM report and a follow on Web seminar will be available shortly.

Posted July 21, 2006 10:09 AM
Permalink | 2 Comments |


I am less surprised about these initial results. In one project we have at BP we are managing no less than 350 different categories of master data, only two of which are product and customer. The same issues permeate large corporations, whether the data is HR related, supply chain, asset, brand, etc. Forward looking companies are taking an integrated approach to the problem rather than a siloed approach.

When can we have survey results available?

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