Understanding Master Data Management’s integration challenges

Piethein Strengholt
9 min readDec 7, 2023

A successful Master Data Management (MDM) implementation is no simple task. It involves choosing the right scope with approach, and overcoming numerous data integration hurdles such as data quality, data consolidation from disparate sources, and maintaining data uniformity across different business units. In this post, we’ll explore some of these challenges in detail, offering insights into how they can be effectively managed to ensure your MDM strategy delivers the most value.

Before we delve deep into the complexities of MDM, it’s crucial to first establish a solid understanding of the concept itself, comprehend how different vendors set themselves apart, and explore the various strategies for integrating master data. Following this, we’ll examine an example using the Coexistence style.

Introduction

MDM is a comprehensive method of defining and managing an organization’s critical data. It provides a single, unified view of data across the enterprise, creating an authoritative source that supports operational business applications and analytical downstream consumers. The importance of MDM cannot be overstated. It plays a significant role in improving data quality, reducing inconsistency, and facilitating better decision making. Moreover, it facilitates a holistic view of key data entities, such as customers, products, suppliers, among others, thereby boosting operational efficiency and delivering insightful analytics for strategic planning.

MDM vendors distinguish themselves from others in several ways. Some excel in data integration with many native out-of-the-box connectors, while others may focus more on data quality and governance, including the life cycle management of issues using workflows, progression dashboards, notification services and more. Others may differentiate themselves by incorporating Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning into their solutions for enhancing the process of matching and merging. So, determining the scope and business objectives before implementing MDM is a crucial part of your overall strategy.

For the MDM process itself: there are different challenges associated with managing master data. Gartner, a leading research and advisory company, has proposed four styles or approaches of MDM, namely: Consolidation, Registry, Coexistence, and Centralized. The Consolidation style involves collecting master data from various sources into a central…

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Piethein Strengholt

Hands-on data management professional. Working @Microsoft.