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Is MDM your solution to GDPR?

by Simon Walker  |  July 11, 2017  |  Submit a Comment

There is much hype around the GDPR due to the fast approaching deadline of 25 May 2018. As a result organizations are looking for solutions, and many vendors have seen an opportunity to position their solutions (including MDM) as an answer.

Master data management (MDM) is defined by Gartner as follows;

Master data is the consistent and uniform set of identifiers and extended attributes that describes the core entities of an enterprise, such as existing customers, prospective customers, citizens, suppliers, employees and patients.

Master data packaged solutions help ensure the uniformity, accuracy, stewardship, semantic consistency and accountability of an enterprise’s official, shared master data assets.

Personal data can undoubtedly be categorized as master data identifiers and extended attributes and therefore governed by an organization within an MDM packaged solution. Looking at the critical capabilities of packaged MDM solutions they will possess the ability to manage the policies and rules associated with potentially complex privacy access rights, services to manage workflows, business rules and audit trails for the master data, and provide support for information governance and stewardship functions of the master data. So far so good.

The challenge to MDM being an answer to compliance with the GDPR is that personal data includes non-master data. Such data has limited reuse, or is specific to one single application only. Therefore this data falls outside of the jurisdiction of MDM.

In conclusion, MDM for many organizations is critical to their privacy mandate, and as a result to achieving compliance with the GDPR. However, an MDM solution is only one component of data and privacy. Organizations should be mindful of not extending the scope of their MDM program to include non-master data (see definition above). In addition organizations should develop and action plan to prepare their MDM program for the new privacy requirements. For more information on how this can be achieved, please see The Impacts of the General Data Protection Regulation on MDM.

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Simon Walker
Principal Research Analyst
1 years at Gartner
22 years IT Industry

A Principal Research Analyst on the IT Leaders' team, Simon Walker covers master data management (MDM), with a focus on product and multidomain data. Mr. Walker provides expertise and advice to Gartner clients in these areas, with an emphasis on information strategy, the importance of MDM and data governance within data management, business value of MDM and how to operationalize MDM in support of business objectives. Read Full Bio

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