Master Data Management (MDM) comprises a set of processes and tools that consistently define and manage the non-transactional data entities of an organization (which may include reference data). MDM’s objective is to provide processes for collecting, aggregating, matching, consolidating, quality-assuring, persisting and distributing such data throughout an organization to ensure consistency and control in the ongoing maintenance and application of this information.
Processes commonly seen in MDM solutions include source identification, data collection, data transformation, normalization, rule administration, error detection and correction, data consolidation, data storage, data distribution, and data governance. The tools include usage of data networks, file systems, a data warehouse, data marts, an operational data store, data mining, data analysis, data virtualization, data federation and data visualization.
MDM needs arise from many different causes - mergers and acquisitions, poor data management practices of the past, legacy systems, ERP and packaged application inconsistencies, and more. MDM is complex and challenging, but it pays great dividends when done well.
The unique challenges of an MDM program are often not apparent immediatley, even to seasoned data management professionals.