Master Data Management Grows Up, Part I: Social Media

Loraine Lawson

Master data management is growing up so fast on me. One of my first interviews was about MDM, and we spent most of the time talking about its recent growth spurt from customer data integration and product information management.

It’s like MDM has turned into a teenager, with its head in the cloud. All I hear about is it’s social media this and Big Data that. It makes you want the simpler times, when MDM took years and many, many hundreds of thousands of dollars to implement, doesn’t it?

No. I guess it doesn’t. But it does make you wonder: Is MDM really ready to leave the comfortable world of on-premise and take to the cloud? Is it mature enough for Big Data? And just how far does all this social network integration go?

I started thinking a lot about this last month, actually, after talking with Steve Jones, the global lead for MDM at Capgemini. He shared some of the MDM initiatives the services firm is working on with IBM and Informatica.

For instance, Capgemini is working with IBM on something called Omni Channel, which is a way to support multi-channel sales such as that people can shop online with their smartphones while in the store, and actually get the cheaper online price but make the sale in the store. MDM will be a key part of the puzzle for supporting that type of integration, he explained. The company would also marry social media data and location data to allow retailers to better market to customers based on where they are.

Everybody hates being marketed to, but let’s face it: Who wouldn’t be more inclined to buy a detergent if you knew your five cleanest  — or perhaps most environmentally aware — friends used it?

“The cool thing about MDM is MDM provides you with the ability to do that cross-reference between those channels,” Jones said. “And it’s the combination of the campaign-management pieces with MDM, which then means organizations are able to seamlessly switch between channels in the way that historically haven’t been able to do.”

Informatica, meanwhile, is working on two approaches to social MDM: One that ties in customer data from Facebook and another that allows business users to collaborate on data for better data quality and clear data governance.

So far, the only MDM social tool I’ve heard of is IBM’s offering with Capgemini and Informatica 9.5’s support for some social data governance, with the additional social MDM features expected in another release later this year. That means social MDM is more of a prototype than something organizations can actually deploy at this point.


Tomorrow, I’ll discuss another recent development in MDM: the cloud.



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