The soul of Master Data Management (MDM) is often explained as the search for a single version of the truth. It has always puzzled me that that search in many cases has been about finding the truth as the best data within different data silos inside a given organization.
Big data, including how MDM and big data can be a good match, has been a well covered subject lately. As discussed in the post Adding 180 Degrees to MDM this has shed the light on how external data may help having better master data by looking at data from outside in.
At Gartner, the analyst firm, they have phrased that movement as a shift from truth to trust for example as told in the post by Andrew White called From MDM to Big Data – From truth to trust.
Don’t get me (and master data) wrong. The truth isn’t out there in a single silver bullet shot. You have to mash up your internal master data with some of the most trustworthy external big reference data. This include commercial directory offerings, open data possibilities, public sector data (made available for private entities) and social networks.
Indeed there are potholes in that path. Timeliness of directories, completeness of open data, consistency and availability and price tags on public sector data and validity of social network data are common challenges.
You are quite right. None of the current silo systems might hold the correct information to adequately identify a Party.
One essential step that any enterprise has to go through in order to do effective Party Master Data Management is to ask (and answer) the question, “With regard to the trading relationships that we have with Parties, what is it that makes one occurrence of Party unique from every other occurrence of Party?”
This Unique Identifier (which will NEVER be a code) is not absolute. The unique identifier for IBM that would satisfy the requirements of the IRS, will be very different from the unique identifier that would satisfy the needs of a small stationery provider selling to the local IBM offices in Dallas.
Thanks for adding in John. At iDQ, where I’m currently is engaged, we work with what Andrew White calls governing trust in someone else’s data which includes how different kind of organizations may utilize external big reference data for identification and other purposes in conjunction with data already being inside the organization.