Reference Data Management (RDM) is a small but important extension to Master Data Management (MDM). Together with a large extension, being big data and data lakes, mastering reference data is increasingly being part of the offerings from MDM solution vendors as told in the post Extended MDM Platforms.
Reference data are these smaller lists of values that gives context to master data and ensures that we use the same (or linkable) codes for describing master data entities. Examples are:
- A list of countries, a list of states/provinces in given countries and a list of postal codes in a given country
- A list of industry sector codes
- A list of product classifications
Reference data tend to be externally defined and maintained typically by international standardization bodies or industry organizations, but reference data can also be internally defined to meet your specific business model.
3 RDM Solutions from MDM Vendors
Informatica has recently released their first version of a new RDM solution: MDM – Reference 360. This is by the way the first true Software as a Service (SaaS) solution from Informatica in the MDM space. This solution emphasizes on building a hierarchy of reference data lists, the ability to make crosswalks between the lists, workflow (approval) around updates and audit tracks.
Reltio has embraced RDM has an integral part of their Reltio Cloud solution where the “RDM capabilities improves data governance and operational excellence with an easy to use application that creates, manages and provisions reference data for better reporting and analytics.”
Semarchy has a solution called Semarchy xDM. The x indicates that this solution encompasses all kinds of enterprise grade data and thus both Master data and Reference data while “xDM extends the agile development concept to its implementation paradigm”.