We always like unambiguous responses to our efforts, and reader Matt Stitz came through for us in his comments about a recent IT Business Edge interview with Ron Schumacher, the CTO of Initiate Systems. "What a useless column/article!" wrote Stitz.
He was referring to the question of "which data should [be in] a central hub master, and which data should be a pure reference file. Where do you draw the line between the two and why?" to use his words.
That's exactly the question. Let's address the "why" part. CIOs have stated over and over that the idea of cleaning up all the data in their enterprise is overwhelming. Paul Friedman, CTO and co-founder of customer data integration (CDI) vendor Purisma, argued in another IT Business Edge interview that there are strong business reasons for cleaning up data, but advises a step-wise approach, "Don't try to boil the ocean and say, 'I'm going to unify all my operational systems and get everything flowing and syncing before I get any value.'"
So there you have it. The reason for drawing the line is so you don't have to boil the ocean.
Having said that, there are some highly respected -- and very large -- companies that are committed to total CDI, including PepsiCo. Maybe they read the recent TDWI survey where 85 percent of the responding organizations reported problems resulting from poor master data.