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Master Data Management Enables BPM and SOA

by Michael Blechar  |  June 14, 2009  |  3 Comments

I find it both interesting and frustrating that most business process improvement projects focus so much on process improvement to the exclusion of data improvement. Improving business agility by breaking down years of siloed transactions, programs and processes into more flexible and reusable software services is clearly a good thing to do. But what about the siloed data? These initiatives seem to forget that in most organizations the data also needs to be redesigned for consumption – and have its governance rules changed to be managed – at a level of granularity which is consistent with those of the shared, agile business, software and data services. A failure to address service-oriented data redesign at the same time as process redesign is a recipe for disaster.


In the newly published research note “Why Application and Business Architects and Analysts Should Care About MDM*” we look at how to address this need for collaboration between business and IT when designing services and governing them. We also look at how the business and application architectures relate to the enterprise information architecture, especially with those doing master data management (MDM; see “The Seven Building Blocks of MDM: A Framework for Success*” and “Mastering Master Data Management*”). MDM data services can be a key enabler of business process management (BPM) and service-oriented architecture (SOA).

MDM projects focus on improving and managing the most important data within the enterprise –such as customer and product data. Because MDM takes on the issues of designing shared, reusable data services which use the best source of record for data, it ensures that when new application solutions are being composed/created, the best high quality data will be made available. Moreover, MDM proactively addresses the governance of the data services and publishes which services exist and how to use them. In other words, MDM proactively establishes the data services needed by new BPM and SOA projects in advance of them, allowing them to be implemented more quickly.

On the other hand, MDM data services cannot be built in a vacuum. There is a need to understand how best design the data structures and services based on the needs of the new software services and workflows coming out of the BPM and SOA projects. So, ensuring that the architecture and analysis efforts of BPM, SOA and MDM projects are coordinated in a collaborative manner should be of extreme importance to business and IT management.

*Available to Gartner clients or for a fee


Mike Blechar
VP Distinguished Analyst
17 years at Gartner
43 years IT industry

Michael Blechar is vice president and distinguished analyst in the Information Management Research area of Gartner's Research and Advisory Services. Mr. Blechar specializes in the area of metadata management/repositories, information and data services…Read Full Bio

Thoughts on Master Data Management Enables BPM and SOA


    Hi Michael,
    building master data services seems so easy to write down while it’s so hard to realize because:
    – needs to have a corporation pro soa
    – needs to have a mindset versus soa reasoning (both techincal and business side)
    – needs to have technical architecture soa oriented
    – needs to have business architecture soa oriented
    – all previous points from mdm point of view yet

    For a large corpations is an utopia
    This is my idea!

  2. Michael Blechar says:

    Giorgio: You are correct in that building good, agile master data services requires significant skill and archietctural maturity, And, not applicable for all data within the enterprise. Therefore choosing which data access to provide as master data services requires planning and must factor into the decision political and cultural biases and issues – in many cases beyond just those related to the data archietcture. But, even incremental improvements which move you towards the utopia are better than none at all!

  3. […] Master Data Management Enables BPM and SOA  Michael Blechar Gartner June 14, 2009 […]

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