A Master Data Mind Map

A challenge within many disciplines is easily to explain what the discipline is about and that certainly is true for Master Data Management (MDM) too as we often have the question: What is master data?

A good short explanation is:

“The description of the who, what and where in transaction data”.

It could also, with help from Wikipedia, be:

“Information that is key to the operation of a business”.

From Gartner (the analyst firm) we have:

“The consistent and uniform set of identifiers and extended attributes that describes the core entities of the enterprise”.

The latter one I would not try on friends and relatives though.

Examples are often a good way to go. Visualization is great too. So, therefore I have played with a mind map of what master data entities may be:

Master Data

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8 thoughts on “A Master Data Mind Map

  1. Sophie Angenot 31st January 2014 / 17:41

    I see you’re also a fan of mindmaps Henrik. 🙂 Very nice one!

  2. Axel Troike (@AxelTroike) 31st January 2014 / 23:35


    Due to the hierarchical character of Master Entities, definitely a good practice for a first brainstorming before using a data modeling tool.

  3. John Owens 1st February 2014 / 20:15

    Hi Henrik

    I like your short definition of “The description of the who, what and where in transaction data”.

    I would suggest amending it slightly to read “The description of the who, what and where in a commercial a transaction”.

    One Master Entity that is missing from you Mind Map is Asset (it is often referred to as the ‘forgotten Master Entity’!)


  4. Henrik Liliendahl Sørensen 2nd February 2014 / 09:50

    Thanks Sophie, Axel and John for commenting.

    Indeed this is a high level beginning of making / looking at data models – not at least a conceptual enterprise model. By the way, it is also how you as a MDM product manager starts to look at market opportunities.

    The asset is there actually placed within financial master entities. I also had some good comments on that on twitter, which calls for a following up blog post on asset master data.

  5. Richard Branch 3rd February 2014 / 22:41

    To my way of thinking an asset is a thing (using Gartner’s terminology) and I would place this on the products branch of your map. I’m not suggesting you would build an asset master in a PIM but a good multi-domain MDM platform would be suitable.

  6. John Owens 4th February 2014 / 03:00

    Henrik’s definition of a Master Entity as the “Who, what and where in a commercial transaction” is a good guide to what is and, very importantly, what is not a Master Entity.

    Financial entities and calendar entities do not meet this definition. They actually belong under Domain data.

    Assets are not a subset of the finance domain – though their value can be expressed in financial terms. They are a Master Entity class in their own right and their proper physical management is crucial in many sectors. I describe how to identify, model and manage them in my webinar on Multi-Dimensional MDM at http://eWebinars.com/5444/4fpnuj3ted/webinar-register.php

    The definition for Master Entities needs to be modified to take account of Asset, as follows, “Master Entities define the who, what, where and how in commercial or production transactions”.


  7. Henrik Liliendahl Sørensen 4th February 2014 / 08:54

    Thanks Richard and John. I have continued the asset issue in a new blog post.

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