“Entities must not be multiplied beyond necessity“,
William of Occam, 14th Century
Master data is data that is shared between computer systems: data such as "customer", "product", "location", "asset", "contract", etc. Large organizations have many systems which store such information and the management of multiple and competing definitions of this data is known as master data management.
Although attempting to manage such data is hardly new (to some extent both ERP and data warehousing were sold partly on this basis), only since around 2003 has the term MDM been widely coined, and products aimed specifically at this market released. At the Information Difference we believe that both CDI (customer data integration) and PIM (product information management) are subsets of a broader MDM market. We see enterprise customers increasingly wishing to take an architected approach to master data management across multiple data domains.
Technology coverage varies significantly by vendor. Some MDM vendors provide extensive support for the data governance processes which surround the creation and maintenance of master data, generating workflow and event processes associated with the various stages of master data creation and authorization.
Some hub vendors, especially those from a CDI background, tend to assume that this "softer" side of MDM is out of scope, and concentrate on providing high- volume throughput between other computer systems and theirs. Some have good international coverage, others are focused on local markets.
Hence when considering a short-list of vendors for a project it is important to understand how the many vendors out there are suitable for your specific requirements. Our "vendor profiles" can help in this regard. Alternatively, contact us to see whether some tailored advice or a subscription, allowing unlimited telephone analyst support, may make sense for you.