Seems odd, but can we talk about defining “MDM”, and maybe master data?
I was pointed to that great knowledge base in the sky, Wikipedia, and its definition of MDM. The definition reads:
In computing, master data management (MDM) comprises a set of processes and tools that consistently defines and manages the non-transactional data entities of an organization (also called reference data). MDM has the objective of providing processes for collecting, aggregating, matching, consolidating, quality-assuring, persisting and distributing such data throughout an organization to ensure consistency and control in the ongoing maintenance and application use of this information.
I was asked to explain why our definition is different. Our definition is as follows:
Master Data Management (MDM) is a discipline in which the business and the IT organization work together to ensure the uniformity, accuracy, semantic persistence, stewardship and accountability of the enterprise’s official, shared master data. Organizations apply MDM to eliminate endless, time-consuming debates about “whose data is right,” which can lead to poor decision making and business performance.
There is a subtle different. Wikipedia refers to “non-transactional data entities”. The link for “non-transactional data entities” actually points to “transaction data” which includes, in the Wikipedia definition:
Transaction data always has a time dimension, a numerical value and refers to one or more objects (i.e. the reference data).
Under reference data we find:
Reference data is used in data management to define characteristics of an identifier that are used within other data centric processes. For example – reference data within finance might be a product master or a security master.
I am glad to say that we are more precise. We call out, immediately, that we are talking about a particular data, not just any old reference data. So I like our definition.
We could fall into a debate of semantics perhaps, but it is odd that something as important as MDM has slightly different definitions, or points of interest, or emphasis. I can’t be bothered to argue with Wikipedia.
What do you think? Is Wikipedia’s looser definition more helpful?