CIOUpdate guest columnist Jill Dyché of Baseline Consulting.">

When MDM Becomes "Plan B" - Page 2

Aug 7, 2009

Jill Dyché

Because it works so well, the MDM hub becomes affectionately known as the “master chef” for enterprise data. It ensures that all systems and users have “standard ingredients”—and standard mixing instructions. If the ingredients change—say, a source system redefined its data—other ingredients could be affected, and the chef regulates the entire recipe. The MDM team’s unofficial but oft-quoted motto becomes: “Never cook with rotten eggs.”

MDM applies consistent business rules to data that ensures its reliability. That reliability is informed by the data’s ability to reflect real-world facts. To be truly useful across business processes, technologies and decisions, data changes when real-world facts change, with as little latency as possible.

The need to retrofit existing processes to new tools confronts an historical resistance to change. But MDM isn’t a substitute for these technologies, each of which addresses a very specific set of needs. Rather, MDM is nothing less than a disruptive innovation that solves new problems with a new solution. But that doesn’t mean your existing solutions aren’t still important. Indeed, MDM can enhance their performance, their accuracy and their overall business value.

As companies increasingly recognize MDM’s promise as a solution to their most urgent business problems, research leads them to a range of vendor solutions. As you do your own research, you should first understand your company’s unique requirements for accurate, meaningful master data. Then, consider those requirements as you evaluate your MDM options.

MDM is at its most effective when linking multiple systems for the purposes of once-and-done data reconciliation. You not only will be able to capitalize on MDM’s economies of scale each time systems are added or changed, but reap the benefits of data consistency, validity and accuracy. Then, when you get asked about your "Plan B", you’ll give it an A+.

Jill Dyché is partner and co-founder of Baseline Consulting. She is responsible for key client work and industry analysis in the areas of data governance, business intelligence, and master data management. Jill’s work has been featured in major publications such as Computerworld, the Wall Street Journal, and She is a regular columnist for Information Management magazine, an Ask the Expert contributor for and, and a blogger for B-Eye-Network. She can be reached at

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