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White Papers

The Information Difference publishes white papers in PDF format. When you click on the document Add to cart button your selection will be automatically entered into the shopping cart. Within 48 hrs of completion of your purchase we aim to provide you with the document file.


Mastering Data: Beyond Customer and Product
Mastering Data: Beyond Customer and Product
A paper by Andy Hayler published April 2008

The master data management (MDM) market has seen a battle of ideas over the last couple of years between "cross domain" approaches and specialist hubs for separate classes of master data, particularly "customer" and "product".  In this new white paper Andy Hayler charts this battle and discusses the types of MDM architectures which play out in large enterprises.  

Andy argues that the specialist hub approach has clear drawbacks from an architectural standpoint, especially in situations where companies are multi-national.  There are many types of master data beyond customer and product, something beginning to be acknowledged by the industry. The whole idea of MDM is to improve the current messy situation where application silos compete over the ownership of master data.  Yet a proliferation of separate specialist hubs may result in a new generation of silos.  
In many cases it is impractical for enterprises to deploy a single hub or hubs at the enterprise level.  What is needed is the ability for cross-domain hubs to be deployed in a managed federation, yet few vendors have even begun to address this issue.  

Since 2006 there has been a sea change in vendor marketing, as companies who previously defended the specialist hub approach have set out roadmaps to integrate their separate technologies.  Smaller independent MDM vendors have a window of opportunity to prosper by offering a cross-domain approach today, while the industry giants execute on their long-term integration roadmaps.

The white paper has 9 pages.
$ 495.00
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The Master Data Management Endgame
The Master Data Management Endgame
or How I learned to stop worrying and love federation
A paper by Andy Hayler published April 2009

Master data management (MDM) has emerged as a key area of information management in the last few years.  Initially much of the architectural debate was about whether to be data domain-specific or not – “one hub and for customer and a separate one for product?” – but since around 2006 the industry has increasingly listened to its customers and realised that organisations want a uniform approach to all their master data.  However there is still a significant divide about the style of implementation, with some vendors specialising in certain areas, and some confusion has arisen around terms such as “operational MDM”, “registry” and “analytic MDM” used for various approaches to implementing MDM. This paper argues that there is a second architectural dimension that has not had enough attention paid to it, and that is the one of a centralised versus federated approach to MDM.

The white paper has 16 pages.
$ 495.00
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How to get high quality master data
How to get high quality master data
A paper by Cliff Longman published December 2009

The idea of “Six degrees of separation” is that any human being can be connected to every other human being through six relationships at most. Data is a little like this: through data relationships, all data is connected.  When it comes to managing shared data (the primary focus of master data), you should plan to include all data types within your scope because, ultimately, it is all connected. However, placing all shared data under management is a significant task involving many parts of the business, changes to people's ways of working, new processes and potentially risky technology implementations.  Not an exercise that can be undertaken in a single step, it needs to be done in stages.  At present many companies are conducting pilot MDM projects without giving sufficient thought to the endgame: how to control all their master data. Cliff Longman has identified four different “strata” of data: transactional data (e.g. a payment is made), dependent data (e.g. sales regions), independent data (e.g. customer, product) and policy and reference data (e.g. categories of products, currencies) which have different characteristics.  There are then four alternative strategies which ultimately end up with all shared data under management through a system of data mastering.
  • One data domain at a time
  • One business intelligence need at a time
  • One category of data at a time
  • One business process at a time
Far from being just one approach to an MDM program, Longman believes there are these four main viable approaches with very different cost, risk, and benefit profiles.  Each shares a common end-goal: that of a managed master for all data types across an organization, but MDM thought leaders should select a strategy appropriate for their organization to get there. The full white paper, which discusses these approaches in detail, is available for purchase below. The white paper has 15 pages.
$ 495.00
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