Single view of customer. It's a noble goal, not unlike the search for the Holy Grail – fraught with peril as you progress down the path of your data journey. If you're a hotelier, it can improve your customer's experience by providing the information from the casinos and the spa at check-in to better meet your customer's needs. If you're sending out marketing fliers, it can reduce mailing costs by providing a clean list of customer addresses. If you're a retailer, and a customer buys that Monty Python and the Holy Grail DVD, it can increase revenue by recommending additional related products like a "None Shall Pass" t-shirt. And, if you are a federal or state agency, it can help you meet compliance or regulatory requirements for reporting.
Master data management (MDM) solutions, like SAS MDM, are designed to provide that single, consistent view of the customer across multiple sources of data. But with many other technologies claiming the ability to provide a single view, is MDM still the best approach available today?
Master data management provides a single, consistent view of the customer.
I first learned about MDM about nine years ago while interviewing for a job with a Big 6 enterprise software firm. My old drummer was a hiring manager, and he thought I’d be a good fit for a spot on his team as a sales engineer. (See mom, jamming on that guitar for years did pay off.) Wikipedia was my best friend as I ramped up quickly on terms like MDM, customer data integration (CDI), product information management (PIM) and enterprise service hub (ESB). Amazingly, some combination of my computer engineering degree, my buddy and my enthusiasm got me the job.
I spent the next six years becoming an expert in the MDM space. In this world, “single view of the truth,” survivorship rules, and the differences between systems of record and sources of record were often religiously debated. Along the way, I converted a lot of CSV files into XML to load into the MDM hub, and I even wrote a few tools in VB.Net to do so. Read More