Forrester Wave For Master Data Management — Enterprise, Big Data, Data Governance

As the new analyst on the block at Forrester, the first question everyone is asking is, “What research do you have planned?” Just to show that I’m up for the task, rather than keeping it simple with a thoughtful report on data quality best practices or a maturity assessment on data management, I thought I’d go for broke and dive into the master data management (MDM) landscape. Some might call me crazy, but this is more than just the adrenaline rush that comes from doing such a project. In over 20 inquiries with clients in the past month, questions show increased sophistication in how managing master data can strategically contribute to the business.

What do I mean by this?

Number 1: Clients want to know how to bring together transitional data (structured) and content (semi-structured and unstructured) to understand the customer experience, improve customer engagement, and maximize the value of the customer. Understanding customer touch points across social media, e-commerce, customer service, and content consumption provides a single customer view that lets you customize your interactions and be highly relevant to your customer. MDM is at the heart of bringing this view together.

Number 2: Clients have begun to analyze big data within side projects as a way to identify opportunities for the business. This intelligence has reached the point that clients are now exploring how to distribute and operationalize these insights throughout the organization. MDM is the point that will align discoveries within the governance of master data for context and use.

Number 3: Clients started on data governance with their initial MDM implementations for single domains. Progress was made on project level governance, but data governance is still very much an IT-driven program. Now that clients want to consider enterprise MDM implementations that account for unstructured and structured data and big data, new processes and policies need to be considered to handle increased data complexity. MDM solutions have the opportunity to better support data governance programs through planning, workflow, monitoring, and performance management.

These three areas are where I will focus for the Forrester Wave™ and where I think MDM vendors will differentiate themselves. In addition, research that further explores how organizations are approaching new MDM initiatives will provide you with valuable insight to build both an MDM competency and data management competency.

What is important to you? What do you want your MDM vendors to support?


Hi Michele - Talk about

Hi Michele - Talk about hitting the ground running! I'm excited to see how your criteria for the MDM Wave develops. I agree that scaling data governance from IT-driven MDM projects to a business-driven data governance function or program is one of the biggest challenges for MDM evangelists (assuming they have ANY data governance - too many still sweep it under the rug).
I'm also curious, in addition to the inquiries you're receiving from clients about semi-structured data (Social, customer service, etc) and Big Data, has anyone asked how they should align their MDM efforts with their organization's Cloud and/or Mobile (the "other MDM") strategies?

Good luck!

PS There's nothing wrong with a good ol' data quality best practices report - you can aim to do that as an intermezzo between Waves! :-)


There is a lot of buzz around Mobile in general and I'll be looking at this more closely in relation to MDM and DQ. Stay tuned on this as it will be the topic of discussion for a presentation I am giving at the EA forum in Orlando this fall.

Anyone reading have questions or input on this?


PS A good ol' data quality best practices report is near and dear to my heart - I'll be sure not to let anyone down by side stepping!


Thanks for the insights! I look forward to hearing more from you about MDM, Data Governance and Big Data.

MDM strategy and tools

Hi Michele,

Currently i am working in different projects for implement a MDM practice in different size organizations, I think could be great if you talk about MDM implementation strategies and supporting tools, what is the best choice between a multidomain MDM tool or a single domain (niche) MDM tool and the why

Good luck!!

Master Data Management

Hello Guys,

Thanks for sharing useful information about MDM.

Master Data Management (MDM) includes a set of processes or tools that defines and manages the master data of an organization. An MDM tool can be used to support Master Data Management by removing duplicates, integrate rules to eliminate incorrect data from unauthorized users. Master data are the products and accounts for which the business transactions are completed.

MDM as a discipline

Hi Guys,

I would love to hear about processes and the maturity around those processes that need to be in place before we can talk about forming an MDM program. Should there be any? Or everything can be done under the umbrella of the MDM program? Not interested in MDM as a technology at all. Would like to focus on it as a discipline. Definitely want to approach MDM as business driven and not IT driven, even the data governance piece of it. Looking forward to hearing more about MDM as a discipline.

Great Feedback

Thanks for your input. All things to really think about and consider. Keep it coming!

i will ask a question that eats my head

should mdm vendors not only provide tools for matching, weighing , scoring master entity records for creating a master data store in single/multi domain model but also provide mechanisms to gather qualitative measures for master data entities? why is no vendor doing that and trying to make that a big data function- even if that is a big data by definition in theory is it not a big data function for the mdm realm?

Topic Number 1 will be key

Hey Michele:
Drilling into Topic 1, merging traditional structured MDM data with unstructured/semi-structured would be very helpful. Specifically around how these two paradigms are being approached from an implementation perspective. For example, an MDM solution/architecture for a parties identity and core attribues integrated (via some relationship) with a NoSQL database architecture for the "Big Data". It would be helpfu to understand how this is being approached out there or how each of the vendors are approaching this within their respective product offerings.

Just a thought.

mdm project planning

nice look at MDM. It would be great to hear more about how long it is taking for groups to create their plans, let alone impement them. done properly they will be huge programs and any learnings from them would be very insightful.

Business partner is key.

It is a great confirmation that we need business to drive MDM initiative.