I took a tricky little inquiry today from a large industrial organization – one that is representative of many similar questions from many different users. Operational MDM denotes the emphasis of (MDM) process integrity as well as (master) data quality, “up stream” in the core business applications used by business users. Traditionally “Finance MDM” or mastering of hierarchy data and ledger/account data, for use in “down stream” or reporting systems has been equated to “analytical MDM”. This use case of MDM has technology similarities to operational MDM, but there is no focus on (master data) process integrity, only on data quality. I wrote on the differences between operational MDM and analytical MDM previously. My colleague Nigel Rayner (an avid history reader) has also written on this, in Q&A: Master Data Management and Finance Systems.
However, some financial applications, that is, business applications used by financial users that operate on transactions published from operational systems actually behave like business applications. The example would be a corporate reporting function that initially harmonizes disparate master data for global/corporate reporting that then has to author its own versions (or views) of the same hierarchy and master data. As such, this application is no longer purely “down stream” or “analytical MDM” in that the data that is now authored has to be governed much as other application specific data is authored.
This domain has been serviced in part by traditional BI vendors; and more recently, by a smaller set of vendors and technologies, as represented by Kalido, IBM Cognos Business Viewpoint, and Oracle Hyperion DRM. Oracle’s offering came via its acquisition of Hyperion, that had itself acquired Razza (where this functionality originally came from). Interesting Microsoft’s entry into the MDM market also came from this direction since that vendor acquired Stratature, which was focused more on this “analytical MDM” domain.
This get’s even more confusing if that same newly authored hierarchy is then to be shared and re-used across the rest of the organization and operational side of the business. This would lead to the need to govern the new data as if it were re-usable master data, not application specific data. Of the vendors mentioned above, Kalido has first hand experience of this shift “from managing master data primarily in the analytical world into the operational world”. Just to round out the point, IBM and Oracle would point other MDM technologies to the operational world.
So this is a tricky area: What seems to be one use case of MDM actually shifts subtly into another; and the technology needed to support that shift changes. Governance becomes more active, meaning it has direct, day to day involvement from line of business; in analytical MDM governance is more passive (or, as my colleague Mark Beyer would say, nonexistent).
I thought this was a good example of a wrinkle on the way to MDM land.
See you at our upcoming MDM Summit!