Hi folks - welcome to our blog on all things related to master data management! We have finallyemerged from our caves, blinking into the unfamiliar sunlight, after working for 18 months on our book, Enterprise Master Data Management: A SOA Approach to Managing Core Information. All of us are taking some time to reacquaint ourselves with our families, who haven'tseen much of us over the past year and a half.
In my case, I had a conversation with my mom that was very similar to ones that I had with manyof my friends and family:
Mom: "So, son, what have you been doing for so long that you couldn't take the time to visitor call your mother?"
Delinquent Son: "I've been collaborating with five friends on a book about SOA and Master Data Management."
Mom: "Huh? What is 'master data management'?"
Delinquent Son: "Mom, as we say in our book (and yes, Mom, I am sending you a copy) master data is the core information used by enterprises across multiple business processes. This information includes data about customers, products, locations, suppliers and so on, as well as the relationships between the different pieces of master data.Master Data Management is the architecture, technologies and business processes that deliver an authoritative source of master data."
Mom: "When will you start speaking English? Put your lovely wife on the phone."
OK, it looks like I need a new approach to describing what MDM is all about. In conversations with otherfamily and friends, I ask them if they have ever had a problem with a business where the business just can'tseem to get the right information about them. Now that elicits some very interesting responses, and helpspeople get a perspective on the problems that we are trying to solve with MDM. A sample of some masterdata problems that have been experienced by the authors and some friends and family (with the nameschanged to protect the guilty):
- One author's mortgage provider continues to refer to him by his wife's last name, despite efforts to correct that problem (this was fictionalized in chapter 9 of the book.)
- Another of the authors tried to upgrade from an analog phone line (which was a second phone line) to DSL. He received a letter confirming the upgrade and was told the change would be made in the next week. Then the fun began. After 10 days had passed without the DSL being installed, he called the company. The first customer service representative (CSR) couldn't find his customer number. The next CSR found the customer number and the order number, but had no one to fulfill the order. The following day our intrepid author called back to the telco, only to find that the order request had been cancelled! This went on for four weeks, with calls of 1 hour every day to multiple help lines, where each help desk could not see the full set of correct master data (including one with an address from two years previous.) - An IBM colleague who works with our publisher tried to remove her ex-spouse's name from an account. The company told her that she could pay $60 to have his name removed.
- A customer told us that she and her husband each have 3 different entries in their financial services provider's customer information file. And one of the entries for her husband has his gender as female.
So, I called my mom (like a good son), and told her some of the stories above to give her a more concretenotion of master data, and the sorts of problems that master data management addresses.
Mom's response: "That's great, I really understand it now. But I have another question: What is SOA?"
If you have any suggestions on how to answer that one for Mom, please send us some comments :-)
Enterprise Master Data Management