In part 1 (Intro) of this series, I've gone through the current state of Master Data Management and highlighted 3 main reasons as to why MDM initiatives has historical record of failure. In this blog, I'll dive into the first reason on that list, and that's MDM solution tendency to promote the idea of a "single view".
There is no such thing as a "Single View"
Or at least, it shouldn't be thought of that way. For organisations to be data driven and provide a true culture of "data democratisation", they need to provide their users with the right data whenever they need it. Each user's/team's requirements are different, and the way they define or see an entity is different from one another.
Let's consider an organisation that has multiple systems for storing customer data for different purposes. This organisation has three departments that need access to customer information: fraud, billing, and marketing.
For obvious reasons, the fraud department would want to have a flexible view of customer data in order to investigate potential fraudulent activity. They would be interested in seeing all relevant information about a customer, such as emails, phone numbers, driving license number and addresses.
On the other hand, the marketing department would only be interested in the current details of a customer in order to send them, for instance, a gift. They are likely to be restricted from seeing certain information about the customer, such as their driving license number.
Finally, the billing department would be interested in having a explicit view of all accounts that a customer may have in order to accurately bill them for the services they are using or subscribed to. For example, the same customer could have a business account and personal account, and each should be billed separately.
Therefore, a "single" view isn't viable anymore (if ever) and could potentially be wrong or even impose governance risk. Organisations grow, and so do their business units, vision, goals and data assets. That means a flexible view is becoming more vital than ever, and a traditional static "single view", or "golden record" doesn't fit for most purposes, with the exception of a few use-cases. To deal with multiple use-cases using this traditional approach means generating multiple copies, where each copy serves a group, user, or use-case. This doesn’t only imply multiple physical copies, but also multiple efforts, costs associated with that (i.e. of infrastructure, of projects, of resources, of security overhead of storage), time, maintenance and so on.
In short, a “single view” doesn’t fit for purpose anymore, and our perspective should be changed in understanding the difference, and the importance of having a dynamic Contextual View that's readily available when needed, on the spot.
In the next part of this blog series, I will address the second reason why MDM initiatives have a history of failure by treating data and data quality issues as first-class citizen.
Next: Rethinking MDM and Our Approach to It | Part 3/4: Data is not a first-class citizen