The Two Faces of Social MDM: The Pleasantly Surprising One

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There are two faces to this social MDM movement. Yesterday, I wrote about the well-known, slightly frightening aspect of MDM. Today, let’s talk about the less well-known face of social MDM that could revolutionize data quality and governance.

It’s adding social networking capabilities — rather than data — to your MDM systems.

I got to see a preview of this capability during a product briefing on Informatica 9.5. Chris Boorman, Informatica’s chief marketing officer, showed me an interface that looked a lot like Facebook’s timeline. The difference: It’s showing you a history of the data.

Now, with data governance and data quality, what’s tricky is finding who’s responsible for the data’s integrity. You may have several departments with customer data, but when you integrate that data and pull it into an MDM system, you must reconcile the data, fixing any data quality problems.

Data governance comes into play if there are discrepancies; that’s where data governance comes into play. You have to figure out which is right, and that means knowing who “owns” the data and possibly knowing who last changed the data.

Data governance and data quality can be a major pain in the patootie for organizations because it’s difficult to know who owns the data, who can change the data, and so forth. Plus, it’s outside the work flow for many business users, and so often neglected.

What Informatica’s data timeline does is allow you to go back and review any changes to the data and see who made those changes, Boorman explained.

“Rather like in Facebook, where you see the timeline and go back over time, what we are providing with our master data management in 9.5 is the data timeline, so that you can go back in time and understand what you knew about somebody, something, somewhere at a particular point in time,” he said. “It’s a very powerful capability.”

It’s also still in development, although Informatica clients are exploring this version of social MDM. The plan is to make it available by the end of the year.

To be honest, this may simply be Informatica’s vision for social MDM. I don’t know if other companies do or will offer it. But I thought it was darn smart and would go a long way to fix problems in master data.