Sunday, 25 September 2011

What type of data is master data?

Recently while doing a demo to one of the customer, one of the question that kept on hovering around most part of the discussion is "I have this attribute. Can I keep it in the Master Data Management Solution". The attributes that were chosen were price of a product, points earned by the customer and so forth.

The price of the product for that customer is something that would change multiple times in a single day and a similar thing could happen with the Point system. This definitely does not contribute to the Master data.

A lot of times it has been observed that customer does not clearly understand what Master Data is and often confuses it with a repository which can hold all their data like a Data Warehouse vis-à-vis a solution which could give them that single view of the customer or any entity. So it is very important to make the customer understand what Master Data is. The attributes that form a part of Master Data should not be highly transactional as then the objective of the MDM is lost.

Looking for views from other MDM Specialists.


  1. Excellent point Shweta. You are correct. These kind of questions often pop-up in every implementation. Main reason off course is lack of knowledge about MDM among customers and tendency to see this initiative just as a data integration project.

    We often face customer teams who do not fully understand the big picture (Why their VP wants MDM system) and try to move every data elements of source to MDM system. One issue with this is that you are bringing in data which has no relevance. The other serious aspect is we are adding major performance overhead to the system. As in your case, imagine a very dynamic attribute like account balance being accommodated in MDM. A different ball game.

  2. Thanks Prashant. The Indian market is slowly waking up to understand the aspects of MDM but there is lot of efforts still required. Also one of the points that needs to be understood by the market is MDM is a journey and cannot be implemented like a software that is installed and one starts using it.

  3. Hi Shwetha, as said rightly a lot of briefing and education to the MDM seekers is needed which establishes a sound understanding and avoids mis-conceptions among the stakeholders.

    That's precisely I prefer to do in the early engagements.