Anyone who missed the SDForum Business Intelligence SIG meeting tonight missed a great meeting. Paul Friedman, CTO and founder of Purisma gave a talk on "CDI vs MDM: A Basic Primer". CDI is Customer Data Integration and MDM is Master Data Management, two of the most potent new terms in the IT world.
The problem is the same one that IT has been battling for the last 20 years. That is multiple database driven IT systems that all contain different versions of the same data, and the inevitable problem of reconciling that data. For many reasons, reconciling customer data is more difficult than other types of data.
Paul presented a spectrum of possible solutions. At one end of the spectrum is a registry Hub for Customer Data Integration (CDI). This takes data from operational systems and uses it to create a master registry of customers. As it only reads data from other systems it is a relatively inexpensive and light weight solution. On the other hand, the operational systems that source the data do not benefit from it.
At the other end of the spectrum is Centralized Author Control or Master Data Management (MDM). This has a single authority that receives and authorizes all changes to customer data in all operational systems. As you my expect, this is a much more difficult and expensive to implement as it involves changing the operations systems.
Paul's and Purisma's approach is to start by building a registry hub and then perhaps slowly move it to becoming more proactive with managing the data in the operational systems. Big bang MDM is as likely as other big bang IT projects to blow up in your face.