Saturday, June 21, 2008

Master Data Management - What, Why, How, Who?

I got two interesting things out of Ramon Chen's talk on Master Data Management (MDM) to the SDForum Business Intelligence SIG June meeting. Ramon is VP Product Marketing at Siperian. The first thing is the importance idea is the notion of Data Governance, and as part of governance the emerging role of the Data Steward. The second thing is the big enterprise software vendors are circling.

Large organizations, companies and government collect vast amounts of information and Data Governance is the process of looking after that data. First is the problem of cataloging all the data that the organization has. Next, there may be different versions of the same data that needs to be reconciled and the quality of the data that needs to be ensured. Finally there is the question of deciding who has access to different parts of the data and ensuring that it is correctly secured. A Data Steward is a person who is responsible for some part of the data.

Ramon had some specific examples of problems with data. One is in the Medical field where gifts to doctors are highly regulated. The problem is in identifying a specific doctor particularly where a father and son with similar names may share a practice, which is not uncommon. Another problem is security. Siperian has implemented security down to the cell level to ensure that each user can only see data that they are allowed to look at.

Ramon also described how MDM software vendors are being consolidated by data providers and the big enterprise software vendors. For example, Purisma, who presented to the BI SIG a couple of years ago was bought by Dunn and Bradstreet last year. IBM has been particularly active in buying small MDM related software vendors, however SAP, Microsoft and Oracle have also bought companies in this area recently.

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