Monday’s Musings: Master Data Management - Do Styles of MDM Matter Anymore?

Three Architectural Styles Represent Different Technologies To Build MDM

In 2003, customer data hub (CDI), product information management,
and master data management (MDM) vendors strived to differentiate
themselves by architectural style.  Each approach had its advantages
and disadvantages.  A religion about styles emerged overnight along
with a hard core following.  Here's a quick recap (see Figure 1):

Figure 1.  The Three Architectural Styles of Master Data Management

Three Common Styles Of Master Data Management

The bottom line - choose a style that aligns with your project's business driver
While these approaches still exist, leading vendors such as D&B
Purisma, IBM, Initiate Systems, Oracle, Oracle-Siebel, SAS DataFlux,
and Siperian now have offerings in more than one style. This may make
the question seem less relevant, however, its still important to
understand the trade-offs while beginning your MDM journey.  In fact, it's best to align the style and approach based on your business driver.  Here's a high level summary:

  • Cross-referenced registry delivers rapid results for operational efficiency business drivers.
    This approach is best suited for rapid implementation scenarios such as
    POC's that prove the value of master data.  Also valuable when data can
    not be stored on-site.
    Pro's: Rapid implementation without having to agree on a common enterprise data model.  Utilize existing source systems.
    Con's: Deduplication of source systems not addressed.  Data quality must be solved in each independent source system.
  • Hybrid harmonized reference enables compliance and regulatory business drivers. This
    approach allows the best of both worlds, especially when moving to a
    transactional operational data store is not politically feasible and
    data governance and stewardship activities are just starting up.
    Pro's: Single master copy of reference data.  Uses links to
    access source system records.  Model allows data quality efforts to be
    applied to shared master  reference data.
    Con's: Synchronization with source systems can create some complexity if changes are not made in the hub.
  • Transactional operational data store supports strategic business drivers.  This approach provides a long term path for how legacy applications utilize data.
    Pro's: Single master copy of data.  No fussing with latency or synchronization issues.  Minimal mapping issues.
    Con's: Requires an agreed upon common enterprise data model to
    be used by all applications.  History must be harmonized and requires
    extensive key mapping.  Assumes homogeneity and requires tons of ETL
    and dedupe.

Your POV.

Which MDM style are you deploying? What successes have you seen?
Post your thoughts or send me a private email to

Copyright © 2009 R Wang. All rights reserved.
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re: Monday’s Musings: Master Data Management - Do Styles of MDM

Ray. I just received your tweet about what is hot in my space. MDM is the hot topic. I am curious to know what SaaS vendors such as are doing about MDM? Which approach are they utilizing. I would guess the Hybrid Harmonized Reference. Please advise.

re: Monday’s Musings: Master Data Management - Do Styles of MDM

Ray,I find the summary that you give difficult to swallow.You indicate the business driver that each architectural style supports. The implication of your piece (to me, anyway) is that someone with a particular business driver will conclude that they need the corresponding architctural style indicated in your summary. I think this is misleading, because all architectures have SOME benefit for each of the business drivers.I would also expect that the hybrid would (as you said - being the best of both worlds) be able to support the business drivers of the other two styles.As usual, with any "enterprise scale" ambition, there is bound to be a requirement for a number of different approaches all provided by a single implementation technology, so I would argue that the deployment style should be SWITCHABLE on a category by category basis. It may be sensible to switch styles over time as business drivers change, and as implementations become more mature.Cliff

re: Monday’s Musings: Master Data Management - Do Styles of MDM

Cliff,You make a very good point. The summary of the styles and the business drivers provides a guide for many situations but not all situations. We fully expect customers to evolve in their usage and choice of styles. In fact, this will be more interesting as new deployment models pop up with SaaS and OnDemand.Once again, thank you for pointing this out!Ray