Integration planning for master data management


A few years ago, I was presenting a morning course on master data management in which I shared some thoughts about some of the barriers to success in transitioning the use of a developed master data management index and repository into production systems.

During the coffee break, an attendee mentioned that his organization had recently acquired an MDM product and had spent a 12-month period getting a customer data repository populated and into production, but that they were struggling to convince users in the organization to adopt the customer MDM system.

I have seen the same scenario a number of times, which has sharpened my focus on differentiating the development and population of a master repository (which I often refer to as “consolidation”) from the practices associated with using the information that has been accumulated within a master repository (which I call “consumption”). The early days of MDM were driven by consolidation, but the successes must be driven by consumption – the ways that master data can enable the creation of value.

And what is becoming increasingly clear is that when the presumption of “MDM success” is predicted on the population of the repository, the challenge of communicating how that master data asset is used often becomes the first stumbling block. However, the more challenging barrier becomes evident once some real customers have been identified – providing an integration strategy for using MDM to meet specific application needs.

Another way of saying it is that even if a business area wanted to use the system, the application layer for providing access and utilization of the master data asset is poorly defined and implemented, often requiring a design and development effort from scratch. The perceived delay in accessibility then discourages the potential consumer, who will defer using the MDM system and instead select a different alternative.

Over the next arc of blog postings I will share ideas about master data usage scenarios, and then we’ll brainstorm about assembling components of a solution architecture template to be used as the starting point for master data integration.


About Author

David Loshin

President, Knowledge Integrity, Inc.

David Loshin, president of Knowledge Integrity, Inc., is a recognized thought leader and expert consultant in the areas of data quality, master data management and business intelligence. David is a prolific author regarding data management best practices, via the expert channel at and numerous books, white papers, and web seminars on a variety of data management best practices. His book, Business Intelligence: The Savvy Manager’s Guide (June 2003) has been hailed as a resource allowing readers to “gain an understanding of business intelligence, business management disciplines, data warehousing and how all of the pieces work together.” His book, Master Data Management, has been endorsed by data management industry leaders, and his valuable MDM insights can be reviewed at . David is also the author of The Practitioner’s Guide to Data Quality Improvement. He can be reached at

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