I constantly see presentations, conferences, articles, reports, web seminars, and so forth, where CDI and MDM are often presented as being one of the same. While there is no question that CDI is a valuable technology for integrating customer data, it is important to realize that CDI is only one step in the long journey toward managing enterprise wide master data. CDI is not the only starting point in this journey either. In fact, a recent study by the business intelligence network shows that organizations often don't start with customer data. This is because many of the products are immature and because of the complexity and volume of data involved.
It is also important to realize that master data integration doesn't always equate to master data management. There are many good CDI solutions out there, but many of them don't have sound management capabilities for supporting master data hierarchies, master data versioning, historical master data, master metadata, data lineage reporting, and so on.
Many CDI deployments have evolved from customer ODS and/or customer analytics projects. My concern here is that CRM and data warehousing designers and experts are frequently driving these projects in isolation. They often don''t have the required knowledge, business transaction expertise, and enterprise perspective to move the CDI project toward true enterprise MDM, and the result will be therefore be a CDI silo.
Enterprise MDM is more than just about customer data and data warehousing. MDM involves other types of master data both for BI and business transaction processing. An MDM system is responsible for managing and supplying master data to both business transaction and BI systems. It will take time for organizations to get to full enterprise MDM. There will be many interim steps, like deploying a CDI hub, for example. It is important, therefore, to have a strategic MDM plan, even if the MDM system is built bottom up. The bottom line is think strategically, but build iteratively in a planned manner. A response to my last blog on MDM summarizes the situation nicely:
"... 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."
I totally agree. Many thanks to Andy Hayler for his comment. What do you think? Let me know your thoughts about CDI and MDM.
Posted July 31, 2006 10:43 PM
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