As reported in the post What to do in 2012 doing Master Data Management (MDM) in the cloud is one of three trends within MDM that according to Gartner (the analyst firm) will shape the MDM market in the coming years.
Doing MDM in the cloud is an obvious choice if all your operational applications are in the cloud already. Such a solution was presented on Informatica Perspectives in the blog post Power the Social Enterprise with a Complete Customer View. The post includes a Video where the situation with multiple instances of SalesForce.com solutions within the same enterprise is supported by a master data backbone in the cloud.
But even if all your operational applications are on premise you may start with lifting some master data management functionality up in the cloud. I am currently working with such a solution.
When onboarding customer (and other party) master data much of the basic information needed is already known in the cloud. Therefore lifting the onboarding functionality up into the cloud makes a lot of sense. This is the premise, so to speak, for the MDM edition of the instant Data Quality (iDQ) solution that we are working on these days.
Cloud services for the other prominent MDM domain being product master data also makes a lot of sense. As told in the post Social PIM a lot of basic product master data may be shared in the cloud embracing the supply chain of manufacturers, distributors, retailers and end users.
In both these cases some of the master data management functionality is handled in the cloud while the data integration stuff takes place where the operational applications resides be that in the cloud and/or on premise.