coexistenceOne critical step to successful Master Data Management implementation is establishing the enterprise relationship between the MDM hub (the repository for governing physical data), and mission-critical sourcing and subscribing systems. In this regard, most MDM tool vendors offer alternative MDM implementation styles or, (as Gartner has named them), “vectors”.

Consolidation, merges customer data (noted for its data quality volatility), from various sources into the hub to execute holistic cleansing, matching and governance. Upon automated (or workflow) approval however, a single-view of customer is not necessarily delivered back to the system(s) of origin.

Centralized is typically associated with the creation and management of highly controlled product data, reference data and sometimes complex B2B data. Centralized designates MDM as the system of record. Consequently, data standards are propagated at the point of data creation.

Hybrid implementations enable flexible combining of both Consolidation and Centralized styles, in a mix that varies by use case. With the possible exception of Hybrid, these three definitions are generally accepted, and not vendor specific.

Coexistence, however, provides a different and arguably, more robust MDM implementation practice. Data consolidation is still key, but with the added benefit provided by updating sourcing systems. Plus, Coexisitence enables MDM to distribute to downstream subscribing systems, making them additional beneficiaries of good, consistent data.

Considering the goals and requirements underlying enterprise initiatives such as “Customer Experience” or “Customer 360”, “Coexistence” intuitively sounds like the best choice for an MDM implementation. Of course, it’s not just about kumbaya between customer domain applications, but also about harmonization of customer, product and location data. A 360 degree view of customer, consequently, needs to provide accurate data about products the customer has purchased, as well as potential future purchases. Accurate and consistent data is a 360-requirement not only for customer addresses and accurate geocoding, but for retail, supplier and partner locations.

webMethods OneData’s customer-base contains cross-industry examples of all these implementation styles, including Coexistence. But for OneData, the idea of coexistence begins within the MDM system itself.

OneData enables you to organize the management of customer, product and location domains discretely, and in a silioed manner. But OneData also makes it easy to interrelate these domains based on real-word business requirements, allowing the holistic governance of these relationships and their distribution to downstream applications and databases. This is a critical differentiator - and also an important building-block for OneData’s industry leading, hierarchy management capability.

Ultimately, MDM implementation styles are guidelines, and not etched in stone. Also, please keep in mind (regardless of which implementation style you might choose), that their success is ensured by an MDM solution supporting open architecture and good enterprise, system and application integration.

Actually, poor integration is guaranteed to break any MDM implementation...

But that’s another blog entry.

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