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Trends that will shape master data management

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As the master data management (MDM) market grows and matures, new trends will help shape its evolution, according to Gartner.

IT and business leaders involved in MDM programmes need to understand trends involving multidomain MDM, MDM in the cloud, and MDM and social networking, so they can keep their strategies up to date.
“These three key trends are generating increasing interest within the MDM market and will have a significant impact on it over the next few years,” says John Radcliffe, research vice-president at Gartner.
The three trends that will shape the MDM market include:
* Growing demand for multidomain MDM software – By 2014, 66% of Fortune 1000 organisations will have deployed two or more MDM solutions to support their enterprise MDM strategies.
Historically, most MDM initiatives have been oriented around a single master data domain. However, many organisations are now striving for a broader vision of how to achieve multidomain capabilities over time.
What constitutes the ‘multi’ in ‘multidomain’ differs by industry. Implementation phases tend to focus on individual data domains, even if the overall vision is multidomain. On the supply side an increasing number of MDM software vendors promote their products as supporting multidomain MDM.
“Although this may be true at some level, it does not necessarily mean that the vendor can meet all multidomain needs in a single product,” says Radcliffe. “When evaluating MDM software products to meet multidomain MDM needs, organisations should evaluate each relevant master data domain and demand proof that the vendor can satisfy both the breadth and depth of their requirements.”
* Rising adoption of MDM in the cloud – By 2015, 10% of packaged MDM implementations will be delivered as software as a service (SaaS) in the public cloud.
Currently, MDM is typically implemented in on-premises solutions. Many industries, such as financial services, are reluctant to place such important, heavily shared information as master data outside the firewall. Equally, there is resistance to the idea that the governance of one's primary information assets can be left to an outsider. Privacy issues have also dampened adoption of SaaS in some regions, such as Europe.
However, on-premises MDM solutions are increasingly being integrated with SaaS applications, and there are various cloud-sourced data services (such as data quality or data integration as a service) that can help with MDM implementations.
“On the supply side, very few MDM technology and service providers have, so far, developed specific MDM SaaS or platform as a service products that are scalable, elastic and multitenant,” says Radcliffe. “But when they do, we expect them to exploit the cloud computing value proposition and increase their marketing of MDM in the cloud, in defined scenarios.”
* Increasing links between MDM and social networks – By 2015, 15% of organisations will have added social media data about their customers to the customer master data attributes they manage in their MDM systems.
In a social customer relationship management (CRM) context customer insight derives from sentiment analysis (What are people saying about my company, product or brand? This analysis can be either at the level of individuals or of an aggregate trend) and network analysis (Who is that person? Whom do they know? How important are they as influencers?).
Much social media analysis will be at the aggregate trend level. This analysis could prove very useful for understanding what the market thinks about a company, its products and its services. But if a company could identify the individual person who is ‘tweeting’ and what product or service they are referring to, that information would also be valuable, as they could act on their comments to protect their brand or provide a customised experience and product offering to that person.
“The ability to recognise key people who are valuable to a company and to act on their sentiments in a timely fashion may be important, but presents several challenges. One is how to deal with the sheer volume and complexity of the data. In addition, there is a need to identify key social networkers, by using identity resolution tools, and to link their identities and social networking behaviour back to your organization's systems,” says Radcliffe. “The MDM system maintaining the master customer profile data will be a key integration point, so in the future a company’s MDM system for customer data will have to be ‘social networking aware’.”