Survey Shows Companies Largely Satisfied with MDM

Loraine Lawson

You know how I keep saying that master data management is expensive, with some projects running into the millions? Yeah. Try on this number: Seven million dollars.

When The Information Difference conducted a survey of 188 businesses from around the world-about half of which had already adopted MDM, with the remainder planning to do so - $7 million was the average cost reported for MDM costs. The median number, for you stats people out there: $3.5 million.


The good news: They were pretty happy with their implementations, with about 24 percent saying their implementation had been "very successful." A majority-60 percent for analytic MDM and 64 percent for operational MDM-classified their MDM as "somewhat successful." I suppose that's a good report, though at those prices, I'd want to feel flippin' ecstatic about my implementation, but that's just me.

All of which is very interesting, in an IT Jeopardy kind of way, but there's another reason I wanted to share Information Management's summary of this MDM styles and architectures survey with you.

Last week, when I shared my "Five Confusing Questions About MDM," I pointed out that there's conflicting advice over the definition of master data and MDM. Mark Raskino, a vice president and Gartner Fellow at Gartner Research, as well as the author of "Mastering the Hype Cycle," pointed out in the comments that this is actually par for the course with technologies in the "Peak of Inflated Expectations" phase of the hype cycle, which happens to be where MDM is.

That's good to know and marginally comforting, as I try to wade through covering MDM.


Which brings me back to why I'm mentioning this survey: While it doesn't specifically address my questions, it does go a long way to illuminating the realities of MDM-how it's implemented, how it's used, and its true scope.

And, as it turns out, the reality is pretty diverse.


For instance, when asked which type of MDM they had implemented - operational (aka, transactional systems) or analytical (associated with business intelligence and reporting) - the response was split into three directions:


  • 23 percent had adopted analytical MDM
  • 37 percent had adopted operational MDM
  • 33 percent had adopted both


Likewise, there was no clear winner among the MDM architecture styles:


  • Nearly 20 percent chose a registry style, where the system points to where the master data lives in operational systems.
  • About 17 percent chose the more challenging transaction style, in which the system becomes the one and only source of master data, a discovery the report's author, David Waddington, termed "surprising."
  • Approximately 28 opted for a co-existence model, which combines the two, having the system hold the master data where practical, but otherwise linking to other master data sources.
  • Almost 22 percent took option four, consolidation, in which the system contains the master data only as a copy, an approach that Waddington notes can only used for analytical purposes.


I can't help but wonder if the survey revealed any correlations between the style of implementation and the success rates. I'll just have to wonder, since the full report is only available for purchase. The article doesn't mention this, but it seems to only be accessible if you're a member; if you'd like to buy it without becoming a member, you might e-mail Waddington, whose e-mail is listed at the bottom of the Information Management article.

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