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Master Data Management, or MDM, is quietly sneaking up on SOA as the most overused IT buzzword—though vendors have yet to agree on exactly what MDM means.


Master data management (MDM) comprises a set of processes and tools which centrally and persistently define the non-transactional entities of an organization (also called Reference data). The objective of MDM is to collect from, and supply to various processes, unique instances of each entity.

Uniqueness in this context is an aspect of data normalization which eliminates outright redundancy due to collection of instances from dissimilar sources.

The processes include source identification, data collection, data transformation, normalization, rule administration,data storage, a service-oriented architecture, and data governance.

Best practices

  • Get business involved - or better - in charge.
  • Allow ample time for evaluation and planning.
  • Have a big vision, but take small steps.
  • Consider potential performance problems.
  • Institute data governance policies and processes.
  • Carefully plan deployment.
  • Consider the transition plan.
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